July 27 - Container lines could see a 12-month cumulative profit of up to USD5 billion this year, as the "super-cycle" of carrier consolidation has changed the playing field and left shippers with less choice, says Drewry.

Speaking during the Container Market and Freight Rate Outlook webinar, Drewry director Philip Damas suggests that the increased merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, "will have deep repercussions on the entire industry; on shippers, suppliers and terminals.

"Also on the level of competition between the carriers, where an industry that is moving, quite frankly, towards an oligopoly, will give carriers much more control than in the past."

With supply and demand tightening, Drewry predicts an average 16 percent rise in freight rates and claims that, for this year, profitability in the liner industry is assured. This is music to the ears of heavy lift and multipurpose shipping lines, as it suggests that container carriers are increasingly likely to focus on their core market, instead of chasing project cargo loads.