The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), which represents 15 of the largest carriers in trade from Asia to the US, is optimistic about meeting the trade’s demand for space in eastbound Asia vessels during 2011’s peak third quarter shipping season. Nevertheless, the organization cautions about tight capacity and possible container shortages.
As the US and global economic situation improved in 2010, eastbound container volume jumped 15% over 2009. In addition, vessel capacity for West Coast ports reached a high in October of 96% while vessels bound for the East Coast showed a 94% utilization rate.
In 2011, the TSA is predicting eastbound trade to increase by up to 8% over 2010. Although this demand for cargo space should be met by new vessels entering the Asia-US trade lane,TSA suggested “…that delays on new vessel deliveries, heavy demand for ships on Intra-Asia routes and other factors…” could impact the carriers’ ability to meet that demand. If that is the case, there will be little room for last-minute planning, given last year’s peak season capacity rates hovering close to 100%.
Moreover, a continued shortage in containers (production down 50% from 2008 rates), may cause demand to again exceed supply, a problem that plagued some US importers during peak season last year.
Check out the TSA’s post, “Shipping Lines See Steady Transpacific Growth, Relative Supply/Demand Balance in 2011.”