Ocean Cargo: Shortages of Containers Reaches “Crucial” Levels

Analysts contend that box manufacturing slump is hurting both carriers and shippers

By ·

The shortage of containers has reached critical levels, with lines blaming the shortage on “exceptional” high demand which developed since the Chinese New Year in February, noted analysts for Alphaliner.

According to the Paris-based container shipping consultancy, prices for new containers have soared to their highest levels in almost 20 years as both carriers and container leasing companies rush to place fresh orders to meet the new demand.

“The current price for 20-foot dry containers has reached $2,750/unit compared to less than $2,000/unit at the end of last year,” said an analyst in the report.

Even at these higher prices, demand will still outstrip supply for the current peak season. Container manufacturers are facing difficulties in restoring full capacity following the halt in production of dry containers since October 2008, the report stated.

Total capacity at the main container producers have been cut back significantly since late 2008, as production lines were shut and twin-shift operations re-duced to single shifts.

Although annual production capacity at the two largest container manufacturers, CIMC and Singamas, is over 3.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), these two sup- pliers are expected to produce only 1.35 million TEUs this year. The global output of new containers is estimated at 1.5-2.0 million TEUS for the full year, well down from the peak of 4.2 million TEUs produced in 2007 and a global capacity of 5 million boxes.

Meanwhile, demand has picked up significantly since the beginning of the year. CIMC is reporting sales of 102,900 TEU of dry van containers in the first quarter alone, compared to 60,400 TEU in the whole of 2009.


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

Ocean Freight · Shipping · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Case Study: LEAN Yields Big Results
Every day, companies across a wide range of industries use LEAN in their supply chains, warehouses and distribution centers, finance departments, and customer service centers, among other areas. LEAN practices improve safety, quality, and productivity by extracting cost and waste from all facets of an operation – from the procurement of raw materials to the shipment of finished goods.
Download Today!
From the October 2016 Issue
Over the past decade we’ve seen a major trend in regards to safety regulations for freight transport within the United States as well as for import and export shippers—that trend is the “international­ization” of rules and regulations.
European Logistics Update: Post-Brexit U.K. moving ahead, but in which direction?
Badcock Home Furniture &more: Out with paper, in with Cloud TMS
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
How API Technology Connects the Transportation Economy
Dynamic decision making is made possible through accurate, actionable data. When combined with progress in data science and the Internet of Things, technology companies that add value to direct-to-carrier APIs and combine them with high-power data analytics will create new concepts for the information economy.
Register Today!
Motor Carrier Regulations Update: Caught in a Trap
The fed is hitting truckers with a barrage of costly regulations in an era of scant profits....
25th Annual Masters of Logistics
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and...

2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...