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Where next for container lines as rates crumble

Things are not looking very pretty for container shipping right now as overcapacity again takes its toll on the market. We have seen a slew of loss making announcements for the first quarter of the year including Hapag-Lloyd, Evergreen, Yang Ming Line, Regional Container Lines, and Neptune Orient Lines, if the sale of its headquarters is excluded from its results.

The occasional company seems to have been able to get it right and Maersk Line managed to lift itself into the black showing a combination of cost cutting and economies of scale can work.

The east – west trades have long been the driving force of the container market, and the biggest of them all, Asia – Europe, is obviously struggling. General rate increases announced rolled-out in mid-March have conspicuously failed to hold up against the onslaught of new capacity as some of the largest boxships ever built make their way onto the trade. Spot rates have crumbled from around $1,400 to $650 per teu in the space of just two months, well below breakeven level and failing to cover fuel costs alone.

Lines continue to announce headline grabbing rate increases, such as Hapag-Lloyd’s $1,000 per teu planned hike for the Asia – Europe trade. However, in the current market even getting a fraction of this level would be considered a success.

The transpacific trade is also under pressure at a key time in terms of profitability for the coming 12 months as long term contracts with shippers are agreed.

The cascading of tonnage onto the north – south and regional trades is further affecting the profitable parts of the business as overcapacity becomes an ever greater issue.

So what happens next? Well arguably lines need to do what they did in late 2009 into 2010 and lay-up or idle a significant portion of the fleet. This does not appear to be happening and Alphaliner reported that the idle fleet had fallen to 3.8% of the global total at the end of the first week of May. At the same new tonnage continues to hit the water.

Consultants Drewry have suggested significant room remains for more slow steaming, particularly on headhual routes and that would help limit overcapacity, if hardly pleasing shippers, although it could be argued they would be getting what they paid for.

Meanwhile AP Moller – Maersk chief Nils Andersen has pledged to defend Maersk Line’s market share on the Asia – Europe, at a time when it starts to deploy the 18,000 teu capacity Triple-E ships on the trade.

via: www.seatrade-global.com

Qatar, August 15, 2023QTerminals Group (51% Qatar Ports Management Company Q.C.S.C (Mwani Qatar) and 49% Qatar Navigation Q.P.S.C (Milaha)) has acquired a majority stake in “Kramer Holding B.V.”, a provider of integrated logistics and container services located in the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The acquisition of Kramer Group represents an important milestone in the expansion of QTerminals, as the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and is a significant addition to QTerminals Group’s record of success in diversifying its operations. In addition, this acquisition further reinforces QTerminals Group’s commitment to contribute towards Qatar National Vision 2030 which aims for the diversification of the national economy and foreign investments.

The CEO of QTerminals, Mr. Neville Bissett, stated: “Kramer Group is an important strategic step for QTerminals as we will expand our presence into Europe’s largest port. Kramer Group complements QTerminals and adds existing business, a robust value-creating service offering and European network to QTerminals portfolio.
Kramer Group has both core and strategic importance to the Port of Rotterdam, as it supplements the Port’s activities whilst having direct access to the deep-sea terminals of the Port of Rotterdam.
The acquisition of the Kramer Group by QTerminals allows its entry and presence in the largest port in Europe which makes QTerminals Group’s position stronger in relation to future opportunities in Europe and other developed global markets.
The presence of QTerminals in the Port of Rotterdam is strategic and reputable for QTerminals Group in particular and for the State of Qatar in general as QTerminals Group’s profile will become known in the largest European port..

“I’m very excited about this significant milestone in the journey of our family business which started 60 years ago by my father. Today, we mark the beginning of a new chapter joining forces with QTerminals. I believe that their expertise, resources, and industry insights will enable us to expand our horizons and explore untapped opportunities. Whilst maintaining our culture, organization, core team and our commitment to delivering the superior quality services to our clients in almost all aspects of container logistics”, said André Kramer, CEO of the Kramer Group.
By acquiring Kramer Group, QTerminals will continue to develop its world leading technical and operational know-how to enhance and optimize its potential as one of the leading providers of integrated container logistics services in Europe.

Kramer Group’s development and growth in recent years are indicators of good corporate management and governance of the organization. “Following our assessment of the current organization, we are excited to retain and welcome Kramer’s key management personnel and employees into QTerminals, including Mr André Kramer, who will continue as Chief Executive Officer” said Neville Bissett.

About Kramer Group

The Kramer Group is an integrated container handling and storage, terminal, container development and logistics services provider, located in the Port of Rotterdam, and is the only independent terminal in the Maasvlakte area, and one of the few multi-user depot terminals in the port.

The Company operates in six different locations with network access to the principal terminals, of which five are at the Maasvlakte and one at the Eem-/Waalhaven, and has tri-modal transport options via rail, water and road.