Drewry: Containers to be tight in peak season
A tight ratio of containers to vessel slots and increased production costs for new containers will continue to constrain the global box supply, according to a new report by Drewry Maritime Research.
The report, Container Census — Annual Survey and Forecast of Global Container Units, draws upon analysis from container equipment expert Andrew Foxcroft. It examines the global fleet of containers, with historical and forecast data for dry freight, reefer, tank and regional equipment types.
'The dominant Chinese container manufacturing industry was restricted to operating at half its maximum twin-shift potential throughout 2010, largely because of problems associated with restarting factory lines — and particularly rehiring labor — after more than a year of idleness,' Drewry said.
The consultant said it expects the availability of containers to be tight during the upcoming peak season, but that shortages of boxes won't be as acute or as widespread as in 2010.
'If capacity is more tightly controlled by the container manufacturing sector than in the past, it will likely result in higher new container prices,' Foxcroft said. 'Material/production costs are also forecast to rise over the longer term, thereby providing a further inflationary stimulus. It remains to be seen if continued high container prices will deter new investment, particularly from cash-strapped shipping lines who have found it harder to secure financing in recent years.'