Ocean cargo carriers remain in doldrums

The end of the current container shipping downturn is still not in sight, said analysts at the Paris-based consultancy, Alphaliner

By ·

The end of the current container shipping downturn is still not in sight, said analysts at the Paris-based consultancy, Alphaliner.

In its latest report (“The Unbearable Weight of Idling”) analysts noted that even improving market segments have not earned enough to reverse the trend.

Carriers have started to reactivate their idled fleets for the summer peak shipping season, resulting in a sharp fall in the idle containership fleet, down from 913,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in mid-March to 620,000 TEUs at the end of April.

Furthermore, said analysts, new service launches in the next three months are expected to bring the idle fleet below 350,000 TEU by July.

“The reduction of the idle fleet provides some relief for the charter market, which has suffered from depressed rates for most of the last three years,” said Stephen Fletcher, Alphaliner’s commercial director.”However,
the containership fleet will not return to full employment anytime soon, since the structural over-supply situation is expected to push idle figures up again by the end of the year.”

The present downturn is unprecedented in both duration and intensity. According to historical containership idling data compiled by Alphaliner, the containership fleet has enjoyed close to full employment prior to 2009.

The impact of previous downturns has been much milder than the current dip. Their effect was usually felt for less than twelve months, with modest unemployment
levels. The last downturn in 2002 lasted for about ten months while vessel unemployment peaked at only 3.2 percent of the fleet.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Global · Ocean Cargo · Ocean Freight · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
The Essential Guide to High Value, Low TCO WMS on the Fast Track
A warehouse could become your weakest link if you can’t execute with speed and accuracy. Your bottom line will be negatively impacted, so will your customer’s experience, and they are only one click away from buying from your competitors!
Download Today!
From the November 2017 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
An inside look at how a large pharmaceutical firm transformed its vendor and supplier relationships into true, collaborative partnerships—and greatly strengthened its logistics and supply chain operations in the process.
34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: 2017 Awards Dinner
Trucking Regulations: Washington U-Turns; States put hammer down
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Make Your Products Smarter in the Supply Chain with the IoT
This webinar explores how temperature-sensing smart labels and inexpensive NFC tags are being used to extend product safety and efficiency beyond the shipping dock while also building a communication bridge to your customers.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 NASSTRAC Shipper of the Year: Mallinckrodt; Mastering and managing complexity
An inside look at how a large pharmaceutical firm transformed its vendor and supplier relationships...
2017 Alliance Awards: Recognizing outstanding supply chain partnerships
In an era where effective supply chain collaboration is both highly valued and elusive, Logistics...

26th Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends: Transportation at Digital Speed
While a majority of companies strongly agree that transportation is a strategically important...
34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Winners Revealed
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers, and North American ports have crossed the service...