Slow recovery for global container transport

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According to maritime consultant Drewry, the container transport market will see a healthy demand growth that will surpass the fleet in 2018 and 2019.

This would result in a better balance between supply and demand and slightly higher freight rates and benefits for shipowners, Drewry said in his latest Container Forecaster.

“The bad news for carriers is that they are unlikely to see the very strong demand growth rates of early 2017 in the foreseeable future.The good news is that while the growth in port handling may have reached at its peak, you can still expect more than adequate volumes for at least the next two years, “said Simon Heaney, senior manager of container research at Drewry.

Subtle changes in the portfolio of new shipbuildings, mainly in the form of deferrals of deliveries, have smoothed the expansion of new cargo capacity this year and have had a positive effect on the supply and demand equations for 2018 and 2019 .

“The schedule of deliveries of ships new constructions for 2018 with the majority of ULCV (ultra giant containerized ships) delivered in the first quarter has depressed our supply and demand index, but the balance will improve as the year progresses,” said Heaney .

“Unfortunately for carriers this will not come soon enough to erase the negative sentiment of annual contracts, so we only anticipate a small increase in average freight rates for the year.”

Heaney added that the renewed activity of hiring new vessels is not yet at the level that could worsen the balance between supply and demand.

Drewry’s predictions were finalized before the escalation of commercial hostility between the US. And China.

“We do build some element of commercial deflation based on rhetoric and past actions,” Heaney said.

“A commercial war is not yet inevitable, but given the lack of details, it is very difficult to quantify the risk for the transport of containers, for example, a large part of the high-tech products considered subject to tariffs will be transported by air instead of In the worst case scenario, we believe that up to 1% of the world’s traffic of loaded containers could be exposed, and if the situation were to become a reality, we would have to revise our demand forecasts downwards. “

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