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Thursday 2nd October 2008, 18:28 Hong Kong

Overcapacity in Asia-Europe shipping

There is an overcapacity in shipping lines between Asia and Europe, according to a Neptune Orient Lines official

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“The current situation in Asia-Europe is far worse than during the last cyclical downturn,” he said at a conference held in the Chinese city of Tianjin, reports Reuters.

Demand growth and utilisation of the route were contracting, according to Mr Ryan, and the significant number of large container ships on their way into service could not be absorbed by the industry.

Mr Ryan said intra-Asian routes were continuing to grow. “A bright spot for container shipping was the continued growth in the intra-Asia trades.” He added the growth was an illustration of the growing wealth of Asian nations and the impact of the Middle Eastern market.

He predicted capacity on the Asia-North America route would contract in 2008-2009 after a five-year growth.

APL is the seventh largest container shipping group in the world, and has put in a bid for German company TUI’s shipping unit Hapag-Lloyd, the fifth largest. If the bid succeeds, APL would become the third largest.

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