Asia cargo to S America grows fast
CARGO from Asia to the east coast of South America is showing a sharp uptrend, with rapid growth seen in trade with both Brazil and the River Plate region.
Capacity is also increasing, as shipping companies that serve the route expand services and new ones enter the trade.
Last year, Japanese liner cargo to Brazil, excluding cars and steel, was up 14.8 per cent to 132,000 tonnes.
Other Asian cargo to Brazil shot up 2.36 times to 257,000 tonnes.
Cargo bound for the River Plate area from Japan decreased 7.9 per cent to 128,000 tonnes, but cargo out of Asia rose a steep 42.4 per cent to 541,000 tonnes.
Since the South American countries started abolishing cargo reservation policies at the beginning of the 1990s, third-country carriers and non-conference lines have entered the trade.
Consequently, the overall capacity on the route is expanding fast.
Among the independent carriers now operating between Japan and the east coast of South America are Condor Line, Kien Hung, Pro Line, American President Lines, Compagnie Generale Maritime, Clan, Hajin, HapagLloyd, Ivaran, Maersk, Maruba, SeaLand, Seamar and Zim Israel Navigation.
In view of the rapid growth of cargo from Asia, and the successive participation of independent carriers, conference lines are also taking new steps for developing their services.
Mitsui OSK Lines and Nedlloyd Lines commenced a joint service to the east coast of South America via the Cape of Good Hope in September, with three monthly sailings.
In April, Brazil's Frota Oceanica Brasileira and Compania Argentina de Navegacion Intercontinental of Argentina entered a slot charter arrangement, increasing service frequency.
Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) started a joint service in February with Compania Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV) of Chile, which had just attended the two conferences for trade with the east coast of South America - the Brazil-Far East-Brazil Freight Conference and the Far East-River Plate-Far East Freight Conference.
NYK boosted its service frequency to four monthly sailings under a mutual slot charter arrangement with the Chilean carrier.
These moves are intended to upgrade their services through mutual co-operation, thereby countering the independent carriers' drive to increase their loading shares.
Among the independent carriers, Maersk and SeaLand Service linked up on the United States-Latin America feeder route in March, and built a service network elaborately covering Central and South America.
Meanwhile, NYK and CSAV are planning a sweeping service reorganisation, including the Japan-Far East-South Africa route, which forms part of the route to the east coast of South America.
According to their recently published plans, these two carriers, plus three other lines - Nantai Line of Taiwan, Grindrod Unicorn Group of South Africa and Norsul International of Brazil - will launch a joint service on the Japan-Far East-South Africa-South America route in January.
The five carriers will provide a fixed-day weekly service with 11 newly built full containerships with capacity of 1,500 20-foot equivalent units each.
This will be the first direct fixed-day weekly service from Japan and Far East to South Africa and the east coast of South America.