Excess container shipping equipment is manageable and will decrease

Jhe global shipping container fleet grew by 13% to nearly 50 mteu in 2021, three times the previous trend growth. This reflected that lessors and ocean carriers were ordering a record number of containers, while removing fewer aging units, as congestion in global supply chains meant containers were around 15% to 20% less productive than before. the Covid-19, according to Drewry’s recently published Container Census & Leasing Annual Review & Forecast 2022/23 report.

Drewry estimates that each container averaged 18.1 lifts in 2021 compared to 19.2 in 2020 and between 19.5 and 20.6 in the 2010s. In addition, the number of containers per vessel capacity slot has increased 8% in 2020 at the start of the pandemic and remained at this level throughout 2021.

Drewry estimates that there are now up to 6 mteu of excess containers in the global equipment pool. While large by historical standards, Drewry considers this surplus to be manageable for the industry.

“The delivery schedule for new vessels is very strong with slot capacity expected to increase by 3.6 mteu in 2023 and over 3.9 mteu in 2024,” said John Fossey, equipment research manager containers at Drewry. “With new IMO emissions regulations coming into force in January 2023 requiring some ships to sail more slowly, much of the surplus equipment currently in service is expected to be absorbed. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that some carriers plan to have more buffer stock in their equipment pools, while fewer new containers are built over the next two years.

Drewry expects production in 2022 and 2023 to be much lower than last year, at 3.9 mteu and 2.4 mteu respectively, with replacement accounting for most orders. While new and used prices will drop, a return to the very low prices of 2019 is not expected as manufacturers are expected to manage their capacity and pricing strategies very carefully. Meanwhile, the secondary market remains robust and the uses for which ex-trading containers can be used continue to expand.

“Looking forward, shipping carriers will be the main purchasers of equipment over the next two years, with lessors then regaining control, increasing their share of the pool to 54% by 2026,” Fossey added. “In addition, daily rates and returns on investment will generally be higher over the forecast period than over the past five years.”
Source: Drewry

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