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The Container Shipping Market

Growth in the container shipping market has been relatively rapid in comparison to other major shipping sectors such as tankers and bulk carriers. Demand for shipping was strong with annual trade growth of 10% from 1999 to 2008. In 2009, due to weak global economic conditions, world container trade contracted by about 10% to 122 million TEU - the first annual decline on record.

The container shipping industry rebounded in 2010, fuelled by a recovery in global trade, and has continued on an uptrend since. In 2015, container trade grew by 2.4%, set against high containership fleet growth of 8.1%. The rapid supply growth of container vessel capacity against weak demand has prompted widespread capacity reduction by liner companies, and the move has placed significant pressure on charter rates towards the last quarter of 2015.

Container trade growth is expected to improve slightly in 2016, potentially supported by increased trading activities in both mainlane and non-mainlane trades. In particular, the Transpacific Eastbound, Far East-Europe Westbound, and the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent-Asia trade lanes are expected to post 4.5%, 3.8% and 5.9% growth respectively. This growth, however, remains subject to the pace of recovery in the world economy.

Container trade growth is expected to improve to 3.8%, while container vessel capacity growth is expected to tighten 3.0% in 2016.

Overview

Source: Source: Clarkson Research Services Limited

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