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Seafreight Insights

Read our Seafreight Insights to find out about the latest developments in the global sea cargo industry. Get an update on trade and rate developments as well as flexible solutions offered by cargo-partner to deal with the current challenges.

Global demand for container transport remains on a low level and this also reflects in global trade statistics which are overall stagnating. Demand pressure is expected to continue.

There have been promising signals from certain industries, but the expected normalization and several predicted volume trends have not yet materialized.

According to analysts, the main indicators of major economies are also trending sideways, although the EU and US might see an increase in imports. Reefer volumes continue to outperform dry containers, with global volumes up by 4 % compared to last year.

Last updated on October 2

Surprisingly we are seeing a renewed increase of ship congestions. According Kiel Trade Indicator 8 % of all goods shipped worldwide are currently stuck on container ships and this value can be considered as unusually high.

This is also reflected in global carrier schedule reliability, which has been on an upwards trend throughout 2023 until there was a first drop of -2.5 % in June to 64.3 %. Compared to the same period in 2022 this is nonetheless still very good and the schedule reliability is up by 24.4 %.

We have seen an extreme downward trend in in the first half of 2023, with rates collapsing and bottoming out on most trades and reaching unsustainable levels. The Drewry World Container Index (WCI) has recently shown signals that certain markets may have reached the bottom and are slowly beginning to recover on major head-haul trades such as the Transpacific Eastbound route.

Fleet capacity is expected to increase significantly in the coming years and the global ship orderbook remains at a high level. Current order books represent close to 30% of the world’s existing fleet, and analysts are forecasting a year-on-year fleet growth of 7% in 2023 and 2024.

Another significant development comes from the top two leading container shipping lines – MSC and Maersk have announced that their 2M alliance will end in early 2025. In addition, MSC became the world’s biggest carrier. In the first half of 2023, MSC has outperformed all other TOP 10 carrier by increasing its nominal fleet capacity by 12.

Considering the three biggest global alliances (2M, Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance) and the fact that the world’s top nine carriers control 83% of global capacity, future developments in the shipping industry are sure to remain interesting.

Current market assessment from October 2, 2023:

Legend: traffic lights showing current status, arrow indicates possible development of transport rates.

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