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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
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09/07/18 11:19

An ‘invisible’, although ‘double’ trade of boxes

Dynamar’s third edition of insight report ‘Transhipment and Feedering 2018’ illustrates what enlivens the worldwide carriage of full containers

They authors define it as a unique report – “we are not aware of the existence of any other publication on this subject” – referring to the insight report ‘Transhipment and Feedering 2018 - Trades and Operators - Ships and Hubs’ just published by Dynamar on its third edition.

“Perhaps because it is all about an invisible trade, about containers - which reached around 168 million TEUs in 2017 - that does not exist in statistics on the worldwide carriage of full containers; at the same time, feeder containers are counted double in port handled container statistics…” say the Dutch maritime consultant. “Commercial full containers are shipped on a Bill of Lading issued by the shipping company to the shipper that covers the carriage of the boxes from port of loading until the ultimate port of destination. In contrast, a feeder move constitutes an operational port-to-port activity, arranged by the mainline carrier using the services of a feeder company. Feeder containers usually travel on a Service Bill of Lading issued by the feeder operator to his principal, the mainline carrier. In feedering, the container (full or empty) is the cargo. Relevant statistics do not exists but total number of feedered containers are estimated at 65 million TEUs worldwide. Feeder boxes may not exist in full container trade statistics, they count double in port-handled container statistics. In that case, both the move from the mainline vessel and the handling into the feeder are counted” Dynamar explains.

Some of the main findings out are quite interesting.

Feeder is basically a vessel classification used in the chartering industry, comprising 4 different capacity categories of between 1,000 and 2,750 TEUs; they are capable of 1,300 TEUs on average today against 700 TEUs ten years ago for common carriers, 2,000 TEUs average against 1,200 TEUs for those employed by dedicated operators.

Dynamar has identified 124 shipping companies worldwide, offering feeder services, split into: dedicated operators (mainline shipping companies handling the feedering of their own boxes) and common carriers (smaller shipping lines moving another carrier’s boxes); 13 dedicated carriers deploy the largest ships serving as a feeder while 4 -CMA CGM, Maersk Line, PIL, ZIM- operate their feedering business under separate brands also active as common carriers; left 107 common feeder carriers are clearly ruling the overall feeder scene by company numbers.

Nearly all companies carrying feeder containers are also taking regional cargo; only X-Press Feeders, present in all trades (world’s third largest feeder operator), is the only pure feeder operator

Rather than the mainline ship, the capability of a port decides upon the size of feeder ship, and 20 dominant transhipment ports worldwide handle 24 million TEUs.

Far East trade handles 371 feeder service rotations per week against 284 for Europe/Mediterranean.

As many as 124 carriers are acting as a feeder operator deploying an annual trade capacity of 43 million TEUs, and X-Press Feeders is overall the third largest, as well as the single pure feeder operator, the first and second ones being global carriers.

In 2017, 25 ports could be considered a dominant transhipment port but only 2 can be found in North Europe: Bremerhaven (57% transhipment share) and Wilhelmshaven/ JadeWeserPort (70%).

The Mediterranean accommodates the largest number: 9 with an average transhipment share of 79%, followed by the Far East (5 dominant transhipment ports, average 71%). The hub port with the highest transhipment shares are Freeport (Bahamas, 99%) and Marsaxlokk (Malta, 95%) while ingapore is, undisputedly, the one with the highest transhipment volume: 28.5 million TEUs.

 

 

The world’s 10 largest dedicated and common feeder operators

 

Carrier/

 Number of

Number of

Average

Annual trade

feeder operator

services

ships

TEU capacity

capacity

MSC

79

131

2,000

6,420,000

Maersk Line

82

171

2,100

5,796,000

X-Press Feeders

54

72

1,500

2,804,000

Evergreen

42

67

1,900

2,528,000

CMA CGM

51

89

1,400

2,328,000

Unifeeder

32

42

1,100

1,286,000

Arkas Line

23

38

1,900

1,268,000

PIL

27

40

1,300

1,250,000

Hapag-Lloyd

16

24

2,200

1,152,000

Cosco Shipping Line

26

30

1,400

1,087,000

Total top 10 feeder operators

569

841

1,800

25,918,000

Share top 10

64%

66%

-

60%

 

 

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