The surging number of ultra large container ships has failed to create a European mega-hub with ocean carriers still operating multi-port rotations, according to Drewry Maritime Research.
“Despite container ships doubling in size in the past 10 years on the Far East-North Europe route, there has not been a reduction in the number of North European ports called by each service,” the London-based consultancy said.
“None of the major North European ports has become dominant or displaced competing ports,” it noted.
The average number of calls per loop has remained largely unchanged at four per service, typically including Antwerp or Rotterdam, a German and a UK port, and either Le Havre or one of the second-tier European ports.
And since 2009 carriers have started calling at additional European ports that they did not previously serve directly, such as Gdansk in Poland.
“This confirms the old shipping adage that the mother ship must go as close as possible to the final destination or origin of the cargo – where the market is a large one,” according to Drewry.” This is also advantageous for shippers because direct calls avoid the risk of missed feeder connections.”
Read more: Euro mega-hub yet to emerge as big ships maintain port rotations | JOC.com