Uncertainty surrounds container shipping

Container shipping faces high levels of uncertainty, ranging from additional costs associated with the IMO 2020 sulphur cap to the possibility of a trade recession, shipping consultancy Drewry has said in its latest Container Forecaster.

The International Maritime Organisation’s sulphur restriction coming into effect in January, supply and demand, freight rates, liner profitability and the consolidation among lines are some of the challenges highlighted in the consultancy’s report.

According to Simon Heaney, senior manager of container research, the current degree of uncertainty is the highest in a decade.

“There are a lot of headwinds facing the industry right now with IMO 2020 at the forefront, but there is also a danger that those fears could become overstated.”

Drewry predicts an industry equilibrium by 2023 in its Global Supply-Demand index with a reading of 97.1-100, representing “a perfect harmony.

“The industry is resilient and has shown that it can adapt quickly at times of stress, and we expect it to come out the other side in a stronger position,” Heaney said. 

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