May 24 - Project cargo forwarders who rely on containerised traffic are facing mixed messages as to the supply of ocean containers - a decline in the manufacture of new containers, an excess of idle containers and a forecasted upturn in global trade that
If this was not uncertainty enough for traffic planners, the Japanese nuclear explosion and tsunami have combined to irradiate a large number of containers that are now not available for use.
These are just some of the findings of World Shipping Council's (WSC) Container Supply Review 2011.
According to the review, the number of ocean shipping containers in use in the global fleet of container equipment is roughly 28.5 million teu though the review considers "equipment supply will be tight during the 2011 peak shipping season, and that proper planning and forecasting by shippers and carriers will be important to manage through times of constrained equipment supply."
The WSC paper "seeks to provide a summary of the factors that influence the size and use of the global container equipment fleet, and the current status of the aggregate supply compared to demand."
As an indication of the changes facing container supply, the review says in the years 2003 to 2008, some three million teu were manufactured annually yet in 2009 only 450,000 teu were manufactured, including orders held over from 2008.
The Japanese tsunami has removed almost a million teu from circulation, a loss that may not be made up for with current production levels.
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