The growth of the global container shipping market began to slow down

The growth of the global container shipping market began to slow down

The global demand for container transportation in June 2021 amounted to 15.2 million TEU - 14% more than a year earlier, and only 1.5% higher than in the same period of the "pre-pandemic" 2019. This is evidenced by data from the Container Trade Statistics (CTS) service, Infra News reports.

The rate index in June 2021 rose by another 14 points and reached a new record of 132 points. For comparison, the value of the index in June 2020 was 71, in June 2019 and 2018 - 66. In general, before the COVID crisis, the value of the index ranged from 65 to 70 points.

It is noted that the comparison with last year's indicators is not very informative, since the first wave of COVID that reached Europe and America in the spring almost paralyzed the market for several months. Comparison with the data of 2019 indicates stagnation in volume growth in key segments of the container shipping market, with the exception of American imports.

Imports to North America in May exceeded the level of a year earlier by 40%, compared to June 2019, volumes increased by 20% and amounted to 2.91 million TEU. Exports amounted to 1.31 million TEU. For the second month in a row, volumes have exceeded the level of the previous year by 10%, but are 9% below the level of 2019. US exports have declined almost every month since May last year.

With regard to trade in South and Central America, container imports to the region rose by almost 1.5 times YoY in May and June, to almost 1 million TEU. By the level of 2019, the growth in imports was 3.5%. Exports grew by 3.5% and 1%, respectively, to 0.78 million TEU.

European imports amounted to 1.95 million TEU, which is 17.5% higher than last year, but 0.7% lower than in June 2019. In exports, growth slowed to 16% and 0.6%, respectively.

Container traffic to Asia slowed growth to less than 1% yoy, with volumes declining by 2019. Exports grew by 14% and 4%, respectively.

Commenting on the CTS data, container shipping analyst Lars Jensen noted on his LinkedIn blog that they are continuing a trend that has emerged several months ago, and confirm his assumption that the current market problems are not driven by high demand, but by bottlenecks in supply chains. The indicators also show that these problems need to be addressed not by increasing the number of ships and containers, but by eliminating bottlenecks in the system.

According to experts interviewed by The Loadstar, the massive congestion of ports, a shortage of container equipment and a shortage of ships do not allow us to speak about the restoration of "normal" liner shipping earlier than the second half of 2021.

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