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July 3, 2023

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July 3, 2023 | Journal of Commerce 17 www.joc.com International Maritime North Europe was marginal. As a Germany-based executive pointed out, European import demand "may be up 2%, but that is nothing to be excited about." JOC email: greg.knowler@spglobal.com twitter: @greg_knowler considerable uncertainty over demand as Europe struggles with high consumer price inflation and a cost-of-living crisis. Some forwarders contacted by the Journal of Commerce noted there is little improvement in demand indicators, and volume growth to Much of that capacity is from Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), which reinstated its Dragon service between China and the Mediter- ranean. MSC suspended the loop in March 2020 at the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak. The service had been offered as part of the 2M Alliance under the AE-20/Dragon label, but with MSC unwinding its vessel-sharing agree- ment with Maersk, it will provide all nine of the 13,000-TEU ships deployed on the Dragon service. Restarting the Dragon loop after three years enables MSC to utilize its abundance of capacity — the car- rier has an order book of ships with 1.8 million TEUs in capacity — in a trade that is more attractive than North European destinations. While optimism builds in some quarters, not all forwarders believe the Asia-Europe trade is heading for a normal peak season, citing Imports to the East Mediterranean from Asia rose 38.5% in April, while shipments to the West Mediterranean climbed 21.7%. Aerial-motion / Shutterstock.com 01346 An extensive dashboard of continuously updated charts organized by trade lane, mode and topic. Gateway

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