SeaIntel: G6 will require ports to handle more containers per ship
SeaIntel says its analysis of the transpacific schedules of the carriers in the new G6 Alliance finds that their ships will spend 3.4 percent more time in port, but increase average vessel capacity 8 percent when compared to the New World Alliance and Grand Alliance, out of which they are being formed.
"There is an old saying in the shipping industry: 'A ship makes its money at sea, not in port.' Clearly, a carrier gets paid to move containers from point A to point B -- not to sit idle in a port. The time at sea can be spent at two different purposes -- either to increase the number of round trips per year -- and thereby, the volume of paying cargo, or to decrease the vessel speed and save on bunker costs," SeaIntel said.
"With the expansion of the G6 Alliance into the Asia-USWC trade coming into effect these weeks, SeaIntel wanted to analyze if the expansion meant that the ships would use more time at sea than at port, compared to the old Grand Alliance and New World Alliance networks. SeaIntel found that the ratio between time at sea and at port will remain the same in the new and old network, meaning that the vessels will use roughly 20 percent of their time in port.
"Two additional vessels will, however, be phased into the network, bringing the total number up to 107 vessels. This means that the total number of hours the G6 carriers’ plan on spending in port per roundtrip will increase by 3.4 percent to 3,608 hours, but the new network also means that the number of port calls will decrease, with 21 calls to 142 port calls per rotation, should the new network allow the G6 carriers to operate the network at a lower cost. This, combined with the fact that the G6 carriers are planning to increase the average vessel size in the network with 8 percent, should reduce the six carriers’ unit cost and make them more competitive."
Alan Murphy, SeaIntel's chief operating officer and partner, said, “That the number of port calls decrease, while the capacity increases will mean that a port call in the new network will put further stress on the ports’ infrastructure than a port call in the old network did. All containers on a vessel need to be discharged and new ones loaded on twice on a rotation, both in the Asian and the North America ports, but in the old network, this task was on average split across 11.6 ports, while in the new network this task on average has to be done in 10.1 ports. This means that each port needs to be able to handle slightly more containers per vessel or congestion will become an issue. Therefore, productivity should also be expected become one of main issues in the current negotiations between ILWU and PMA."
SeaIntel said its analysis was based on the schedules from OOCL and Hyundai Merchant Marine websites, as both carriers provide schedules on an hourly basis. It said services fully focused on Japan are not within the scope of the G6 service network on the transpacific and were not included in the analysis. The other members of the G6 Alliance are APL, Hapag-Lloyd, MOL and NYK.