On June 1, Alphaliner counted 205 container ships deployed between Europe (including northern Europe and the Mediterranean) and North America (Canada, USEC, the US Gulf, Mexico, and USWC), which together had a total capacity of 1.14 million TEUs, i.e., a 13.7% year-on-year increase.
A more detailed survey of capacity changes per operator shows a meteoric rise for MSC (+28.7%), which was already by far the largest shipping line on this route. According to Alphaliner, the fleet operated on MSC Europe-North America’s independent services is currently larger than the fleets deployed by any of the three major alliances.
In addition, MSC is the only shipping line that offers a direct Mediterranean-USWC service, the California-Express, which alone already represents 167,000 TEUs of capacity through a fleet of 15 vessels of 8,800-12,200 TEUS.
And this week, the shipping line, which currently already controls 44% of the total capacity of the fleet deployed between Europe and North America, continued its drive with the launch of another independent service between northern Europe, Freeport (Bahamas), and Mexico.
Rise of independent services
MSC has launched no less than five new independent services since April, services that were already deploying 23 vessels (104,400 TEUS) as of June 1.
These include a direct Baltic-Gothenburg-USEC service to reduce trans-shipment at major congested ports in northern Europe, a new Boston Express (replacing Northern Europe – USEC section of Ecuador to NWC Service), a shuttle service from Northern Italy to the US, from Genoa and Livorno, and two services on the Eastern Mediterranean-USEC route.
MSC’s 28.7% year-on-year growth contrasts sharply with the low 2.4% growth recorded by its 2M Sharing Ship Agreement with Maersk on this route. OCEAN Alliance has experienced 8.1% growth, while THE Alliance reduced capacity by 6.4% following the closure of the Northern Europe – USEC AL1 service in August 2021.
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