Zim Looks To Central America ETR
In our recent overview of container shipping we recognised the potential support that emerging trade routes (ETRs) would give to the overtonnaged fleet as the sector struggled on the traditional big money routes of Asia-Europe and the transpacific ( see 'Box Supply: Overcapacity Remains, But ETRs Offer Hope', August 2). The latest shipping company to increase its exposure to one such route is Israeli firm Zim, which is introducing a new west coast Central America service this month.
Zim, the Israeli flag carrier and part of the conglomerate Israel Corp, has announced that it is to launch a new service in August. The Balboa Central America Express (BCA) will operate two vessels on a weekly basis, on the following rotation: Balboa (Panama), Acajutla (El Salvador), Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala), Lazaro Cardenas (Mexico), PUERTO Quetzal, Acajutla and Balboa. The service will connect with Zim's Container Service Pacific (ZCP) at the hub port of Balboa. Via this link the newly launched ETR service will connect with destinations in Asia.
BMI has previously highlighted the growth of ETRs in importance to global shipping companies. As the larger routes such as the transpacific and the Asia-Europe route have become saturated by ever larger vessels and increasing capacity, growth in ETRs has helped support shipping firms forced to cascade vessels down onto lesser routes. Intra-Asia in particular has been a boom ETR for liner companies in recent years - Intra-Asia trade was the largest gainer for market leader Maersk Line in terms of container volumes in 2012, expanding by 19%, followed by Latin America on 10%. By contrast Asia-Europe volumes grew by just 3%.
|Growth Not Letting Up|
|Global Container Ship Fleet (DWT & % Change y-o-y)|