Container Shortage Hits Shipping Lines

Published Jan 11, 2011 1:48 PM by The Maritime Executive

Recent and unexpected surges in international cargoes is good news for the world's shipping lines, but the industry is finding itself unable to take full advantage of the recovery.

Trade between Asia and Europe is up almost 25% and lead operators say there is a shortage of steel containers. The demand for containers fell so much in the last couple years that industry leaders did not anticipate a recovery of these proportions and did not foresee the need to order more.

Its is estimated that 6 million new boxes are needed, however many factories where containers were once built have closed. Surcharges are being imposed as workers scramble to meet the demand and operators are working overtime to refurbish old containers to sell or lease. Owners are once again trying to get back to the industry norm of 2 containers per slot.