When the world’s largest boxship sets off less than three-quarters full on its maiden voyage, it’s clear all is not well in the world of trade.
The brand new 24,004 teu Ever Atop set off to Northern Europe in mid-December.
Along with sister ships, Ever Aria and Ever A Lot , it holds the title of the largest containership afloat, and this was its maiden voyage. But it was visibly light on deck, as a clear demonstration of the contraction in demand hitting the trade lane.
Ocean carriers are always keen to maximise the load on a maiden voyage. They will often go as far as adding empty containers to the deck to give the impression of a fully laden vessel. So this light deck is a vivid manifestation of just how much the market has declined in the final quarter of 2022.
The deteriorating market means carriers are racking up severe losses on ships that do sail and losing more on overheads with no revenue from the sailings they are forced to blank. The revenue shortfall in Q4 is likely to be significant.
On the plus side, the collapse of imports into North Europe has given terminals much-needed time to organise their facilities better. The question is, what will happen to the market at the start of 2023?