Shortsea shipping in Europe is growing due to problems in the Red Sea

2024/03/06 at 8:00 AM

The crisis in the Red Sea has affected the shortsea shipping market on intra-European routes. Container carriers have deployed additional vessels to lines between North Sea ports and the Mediterranean. As a result, feeder transport capacity in Europe increased by 18 per cent in January compared to last year.

Shortsea shipping in Europe is growing due to problems in the Red Sea

After some carriers had redirected container ships sailing between China and Europe to the route around Africa, some ships stopped reaching ports in the Mediterranean Sea. To ensure the continuity of supply chains and optimise fleet usage, goods from Asia now go directly to ports on the North Sea, from where they are moved by feeders to the Mediterranean Sea. Additional ships were deployed to intra-European routes to handle more cargo. The number of vessels serving the shortsea shipping market in Europe increased from 581 to 645.

Additional processing capacity was allocated to feeder routes in Europe by the largest ocean shipping companies. MSC allocated six larger feeders with a capacity of between 8,600 and 9,200 TEU for operations on the Levante Express service, replacing smaller vessels. Maersk sent seven vessels with a capacity of 2,558 to 2,672 TEU to European routes. Moreover, this carrier introduced the world’s first methanol container ship (Laura Maersk) on the Germany – Scandinavia route. CMA CGM also increased its transport capacity on intra-European routes by 15 per cent.

According to Alphaliner, the second factor affecting the increase in feeder processing capacity in Europe was the dispatch of 12 ships with a total capacity of 30,000 TEU belonging to the Dubai-based carriers Crios Shipping and CStar Line to the market. In early February, the total capacity of feeders operating on intra-European routes increased by 170,000 TEU overall.

The largest shares of the shortsea shipping market in Europe were held by MSC (30 per cent), CMA CGM (15.8 per cent) and Maersk (11.7 per cent). In total, ocean carriers currently control 71% of the feeder market on the Old Continent. The largest regional carriers are Turkey’s Arkas Group (4.8 per cent market share), which overtook Unifeeder (4.4 per cent share).

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