Like many other industries, worldwide trends can have a large impact on the supply and demand of container shipping. Much of the current global trends are rooted in political, economic and cultural shifts in different countries. Below are some of the bigger trends in the container shipping industry and their impact.
Sustainability and Environmentally-Friendly Practices
Container shipping professionals are now facing increased pressure from regulatory bodies to practice business in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way. Both air and ocean freighters now need to comply with international laws and regulations. Converting a business model that was designed in a time when sustainability was less important can be costly and time-consuming for global freighters.
Adapting Products and Goods to Container Sizes
For businesses that frequently export their products and goods internationally, more attention is being given to making sure such products and goods fit neatly within storage containers. Although there are alternative options if cargo doesn’t fit within a storage container, more industries are adapting their manufacturing methods to cut down on costs and increase efficiency.
Decrease of Demand in China
It is well documented that China has become a global economic power in recent years. However, industry analysts have come to realize that China’s economic growth has not matched its projections. The result is less of a demand to ship goods to and from China for global freighters. A once exploding market seems to have plateaued, and the effect is being felt worldwide.
Disconnect Between Container Capacity and Returns
The trend of overcapacity has existed for several years and does not seem to be in decline. Interestingly enough, overcapacity on cargo ships has meant lower fees for customers, which has limited the return for freighters. Additionally, a large amount of cargo ships have been taken out of commission in recent years since supply has clearly not matched demand.
These are just some of the trends that we are currently seeing in the container shipping industry. It will be interesting to see whether these trends increase or decrease in 2017, and any new trends that evolve.