Large carriers see market share in Asia-US tradelane slipping

THE combined market share for the six largest ocean carriers in the eastbound trans-Pacific slipped through the first four months of the year, a sign that smaller, niche players who came in to take advantage of the import surge grabbed more business compared with previous years.


From January through April, six of the top 15 container lines on the trade recorded a combined market share of 75.5 per cent, down from 77.5 per cent for the same period last year, according to data from S&P Global, reports IHS Media.


That the market share of major carriers on the Asia-US trade fell 2 percentage points is not surprising. Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime, previously noted that the share of non-alliance carriers in the trans-Pacific market calling the US West Coast has risen from 12 per cent to roughly 29 per cent since 2020. For East Coast routings, non-alliance carriers saw their market share go from zero to 15 per cent in the same period.


For 2022 rankings, state-supported China-based carrier Cosco Shipping/OOCL remained dominant with a 15.4 per cent market share between January and April despite the carrier's 1 million TEU in US imports declining 5.8 per cent from this time last year. CMA CGM ranked second, importing 948,457 TEU through April and seeing a dip to a 14.5 per cent share from 14.8 per cent in the year-ago period.


CMA CGM, Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), and Maersk were the only carriers ranked in the JOC's top six to show increases in 2022 US imports. MSC grew its volume 20.1 per cent, while CMA CGM and Maersk reported 1.4 and 8.9 per cent rises in 2022 volume, respectively.


Rounding out the top six US import carriers were Evergreen Line, with 671,211 TEU, a slight 0.6 per cent fall in volume from 2021, and Ocean Network Express (ONE), a member of THE Alliance, with 636,245 TEU in volume, a 16 per cent decline year over year. Evergreen held 10.3 per cent market share for US imports from Asia through the first four months, while ONE fell to 9.7 per cent from 12 per cent.


Wan Hai Lines, which is not a member of the three major east-west vessel-sharing alliances, reported the largest US import growth on the list in terms of percentage with an 84 per cent leap compared with January through April last year. Volume growth translated to a leap from 1.8 per cent to 3.3 per cent in market growth, clocking Wan Hai in at number 10 on the US import list. Other smaller lines such as CULines and Transfar Shipping entered the top fifteen this year for the first time.


The top 15 carriers for US exports to Asia saw their volumes drop almost 17 per cent to 1.65 million TEU in the first four months of the year.


For US exports to Asia, the top six container lines saw their market share fall from 83.2 per cent in January-April of last year to 81.6 percent in 2022.


CMA CGM/APL, whose market share rose from 18.9 per cent in the first four months of last year to 22.4 per cent in 2022, handled 369,277 TEU in US export volumes, a 1.5 per cent decrease from this period last year.


Cosco Shipping/OOCL and ONE saw their export market shares decline to 18.7 per cent and 15.4 per cent, respectively, while Evergreen Line rose to 10.1 per cent and Maersk climbed to 7.9 per cent. All four saw double-digit declines in US export volumes. MSC's market share rose to 7.9 per cent for US exports as its export volumes climbed 4.4 per cent.


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Large carriers see market share in Asia-US tradelane slipping
Large carriers see market share in Asia-US tradelane slipping