Maritime Containerization: A Global Strategic Business Report
San Jose, California (PRWEB) April 09, 2012
Follow us on LinkedIn – Shipping containers represent the core of a highly automated system for transit of goods. Although humble in appearance, shipping containers also known as maritime containerization, is the greatest invention of the modern era responsible for slashing transportation costs to all time low and for triggering boom in global trade. These steel containers are in effect the building blocks of the modern global economy, given the extent to which these utilitarian products have optimized transportation and enabled globalization. These containers, for instance, have reduced shipping costs and packaging costs through standardization of loads. Interestingly, China’s emergence to the forefront of global economic power as the world’s largest cost competitive exporting giant has been made possible only by the low cost transportation enabled by shipping containers. Growth in the containerized maritime transportation industry is closely linked to the demand and consumption of goods worldwide and the level of movement of goods from one country to another. For instance demand for shipping containers is directly proportional to the GDP in a given economy. Globalization, which took off during 1980s and the resulting meteoric trade and economic growth in developing Asian markets such as Taiwan, South Korea, Southeast Asia and China, have traditionally fuelled the growth in containerization. The importance of maritime transport can be put into perspective by the fact that almost 90% of goods traded across borders are transported across the oceans and seas of the world.
In the upcoming years, growth will be driven by developing countries in Asia-Pacific encouraged by continued industrial development, expansion in commercial operations of business organizations, and increase in trade activities. In China, economic stimulus packages that put more emphasis on sea transport infrastructure development is expected to significantly boost container-shipping demand in the years ahead. In this regard, the market will benefit from the government’s push to restructure shipping routes, optimize port functions and expand the scale of marine fuel supply services. Also, India and Middle East will offer immense opportunities fuelled by population growth, rising urbanization, economic growth, increasing cargo hubs, deregulation, and rising inter-regional trade. Architectural improvements in container ships for superior maneuverability on bendy rivers on the world’s major shipping lanes and ports, also bodes well for maritime transport, which in turn will benefit maritime containerization.
Technology innovations, such as, self-unloading of ships, automated handling of containers, satellite tracking for speed and efficiency in operation, better use of information technology to improve navigational, environmental and operational safety profile, are also poised to benefit the market in the upcoming years. Technologies, such as, Smart and Security Tradelanes (SST) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) will find increased use in terminals thus fueling improvements in yard storage, berth handling and intra-terminal transport.
A key noteworthy trend is the growing size of containership. Over the past decade, global container transport volume more than tripled. In response to the trend, demand for 53-foot containerships witnessed sizeable increase, since switching to larger vessels provide economic advantages to both the customer and shipping company. In view of the developments in terminal infrastructure and capabilities and shoreside facilities, coupled with the need to optimize consignment size and turnaround times, ultra large container ships (ULCS) will grow in popularity. A majority of ULCS fleet development is forecast to occur in Asia-Europe, transpacific and pendulum trade routes. Going forwards, vessel size will continue to increase, although at a slower pace as shipping lines attempt to balance growing global trade demands with safety protocols, as larger shipping containers increase the risk of container losses. The ecological impact of lost shipping containers is also forecast to come to the fore in sync with the development of the containerization industry. For instance, the expanding human footprint on deep seafloor in the form of lost containers on ocean floor, and the threat caused to marine species as a result of degradation of containers and release of toxic substances from container contents, will attract immense attention.
The EU shipping industry currently remains nervous, as market sentiments continue to swing between hopes and fears. With mixed signals emanating from the unfolding drama surrounding the debt crisis, it still remains too early on to forecast the reactive impact on the maritime containerization market. The macro themes affecting Europe include the prolonging of the sovereign debt crisis as a result of the half-measures implemented till date in attempts to stave off the crisis, a dysfunctional financial system that is fuelling a slow-motion economic collapse and fears over reduced consumer spending and slower economic growth as a result of austerity measures. While nothing remains certain and the potential outcomes of the crisis remain numerous, the market continues to stand threatened by the future playout of the Eurozone’s debt crisis. At the extreme pessimistic end of the spectrum is the belief that if the debt and financial dominoes begin to fall across the core euro-zone economies, shipping lines will struggle from the ensuing glut in capacity.
For instance, capacity surpluses on main trade routes like the Asia Europe and transatlantic can very likely take its toll on maritime containerization. Any further escalation in the severity of the debt crisis will trigger deterioration in the already softening trade patterns in Europe. Reduced imports by Europe and the resulting shortage of cargo can stifle the container boom witnessed till date. And with giant cargo ships sailing with half loads, revenues of shipping companies can witness hurting declines. Decline in consumption of goods in the West as a result of issues related to high national debts and unsustainable government spending patterns will in the longer term trigger a decline in production in the East, creating gaps in the global container fleet's enormous cargo capacity, which over the decades has sprawled to enormous levels. Continued fall in freight rates hold the potential to critically hurt the container market in the medium to long term. For instance, shipping companies currently get only a little over US$550 per container shipped from Asia to Europe unlike the US$1600 per container in the pre recession era. The fall in rates indicate the start of what looks to be a worldwide glut of container ships, and the threat it carries to the creation of new capacity and for the sale of new shipping containers. Also, with European banks caught in the vortex of the debt crisis, any worsening of the scenario and imposition of austerity measures in attempts to restructure debt, can very likely impact ship finances and hurt liquidity in the shipping industry.
Currently however, optimism prevails given the yet healthy performance of liquid natural gas trade, which shows no signs of slowing down as a result of the debt crisis. LNG trade continues unfazed supported largely by growing demand for energy in Asia and a rising focus on non-polluting less carbon‐intensive energy sources. The dry bulk sector is also expected to hold up to the pressure, given the increase in the amount of coal imported worldwide. Rise in energy trade across the Pacific is also expected to boost market sentiments further. For instance, the new discovery of gas deposits in the United States and Canada will trigger energy trade across the pacific. The growth in exports of natural gas will help balance transpacific trade flows, which is currently skewed towards manufactured goods exported from Asia to North America. Also, the German economy, the largest in the Eurozone and the world’s second largest exporting country, continues to post favorable export growth despite a slight weakening in demand among European trade partners. This is primarily because internal growth driving forces continue to remain intact as is indicated by the comparatively lower levels of unemployment, better trade surplus accounts, and stable industrial output and manufacturing indices.
Market sentiments are additionally strengthened by the fact that the sovereign debt crisis has not yet been transmitted to the real economy as is indicated by the relative stability of the value of the Euro currency. The intrinsic value of the euro has been stable despite fears of massive inflation, and the Euro continues to remain the dominant world currency in comparison to the dollar. Europe remains China’s largest trading partner with over €400 billion in trade transactions each year, and China’s voluntary aid to Europe in the form of increased Chinese investments in European utility and energy industries additionally welcomes an optimistic outlook.
As stated by the new market research report on maritime containerization, Asia-Pacific is the largest market worldwide. The region is also forecast to witness the highest growth of over 7% over the analysis period 2009 through 2017.
Major players in the global marketplace include Agility Logistics, American Stevedoring Incorporated, Amerijet International Inc, A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, APL Limited, Dubai Ports World Limited, CMA CGM SA, China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO), China Shipping Container Lines Company Limited, Evergreen Marine Corp Ltd, Evergreen Shipping Agency Corp, Exel PLC, Gati Ltd, Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd, Hapag-Lloyd AG, Hutchison Port Holdings, Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A., Metro Ports, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK LINE), PSA International Pte Ltd, SSA Marine Inc, Transport Corporation of India Ltd, among others.
The research report titled “Maritime Containerization: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides a comprehensive review of market trends, issues, drivers, company profiles, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic industry activities. The single-segment report provides market estimates and projections (in Thousand TEUs) for major geographic markets including the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe (France, Germany, Italy, UK, Spain, Russia, and Rest of Europe), Asia-Pacific (China, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, India, Rest of Asia-Pacific), Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Rest of Latin America), and Rest of World.
For more details about this comprehensive market research report, please visit –
About Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
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