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Carriers’ decision to size up to 18,000-22,000 teu container vessels was a mistake, according to industry consultants who spoke to The Loadstar.

While carriers have pursued economies of scale with the super-sized ships, Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCVs) have caused congestion issues at ports, and led to too few weekly services as volumes decrease due to trade regionalisation and trade wars.

A more suitable size would have been the 14,000-15,000 teu range, which would allow for more frequent services, according to Lars Jensen of SeaIntelligence Consulting.

“At that size these ships become very versatile, they can be used on all the deepsea trades, they can be used in the Panama Canal and, increasingly, a lot of secondary ports,” he told The Loadstar.

Similarly, Neil Davidson, Drewry’s director of ports, suggested that “the era of globalisation has run its course” and that there are more opportunities along shorter routes as regionalisation increases.

Intra-regional trade between ASEAN countries (including Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia) is one such opportunity, where there is port growth due to increased Chinese volume.

Source: The Loadstar

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