Shippers and carriers can expect container supplies to remain tight this year as the industry tries to catch up from box manufacturers' lost year of 2009, the World Shipping Council said.
In an analysis of container supply, the WSC said the shortages will force shippers and cargo interests to plan and forecast carefully to ensure they have containers when and where they're needed. The report looks at global trends, not individual trade lanes.
The report notes that supply and demand were thrown off kilter by the recession, which in 2009 produced the first-ever annual decline in global container shipping volume. Production of new containers, which had averaged 3 million 20-foot-equivalent units a year, virtually ceased.
Chinese manufacturers resumed production last year, but production during 2009 and 2010 totaled only 2.95 million units. "As a result, at the start of 2011, the global container fleet had approximately 3 million fewer containers compared to levels to which the industry had become accustomed," the report said.
The WSC said that global container supply now totals 18.605 million containers, or 28,535 million TEUs.
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