Hong Kong Loses Clout in Global Container Markets

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Thursday April 11, 2024

Hong Kong is losing some of its status in global container markets, according to new research.

The largest container lines are increasingly leaving Hong Kong out of their route planning, consultancy Sea-Intelligence said in an emailed statement.

"Hong Kong is being rapidly deselected from the East-West trades by all major shipping lines," the consultancy said in the statement.

"In the network overview provided by Gemini, there are no direct deep-sea calls in Hong Kong.

"For Ocean Alliance's updated 2024 network, direct port calls in Hong Kong will decline from 11 to just 6.

"THE Alliance's published their 2025 Transpacific network overview last week, and Hong Kong will be removed from their Pacific South West and Pacific North West services, and will only be served on a single Asia-US East Coast service."

The consultancy suggested the change may be down to a wider shift towards the use of larger hubs.

"While this does not bode well for the Port of Hong Kong, it should also be seen as a sign that an element of network consolidation is afoot, especially as it relates to transhipment hubs," Sea-Intelligence said.

"Analysis of network design and network efficiency will show that fewer, but larger, hubs are economically more efficient.

"Hong Kong appears to be the first major "victim" of this.

"But as the new alliance constellations improve their networks in the coming years, it is likely that more ports could risk the same fate as Hong Kong."

Hong Kong's bunker demand slipped by 2% on the year to 4.9 million mt in 2023, according to Ship & Bunker and 2050 Marine Energy's quarterly volumes survey.