Talks of Phasing Out 20ft Container are Mislaid Indicates Drewry

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  • Drewry is an independent maritime research consultancy offering market insights and advisory services to senior stakeholders across the global shipping industry.
  • Drewry expects output for the full year to total at least 900,000 teu, up from just below 560,000 teu in 2021.
  • The demand for 20ft containers in the non-maritime trading arena is strong and expanding and this will encourage traders to order more of these units.

Following a contraction in output of newbuild 20ft shipping containers in 2021, ordering has recovered strongly this year, and contrary to popular opinion Drewry expects its share of the global container equipment fleet to remain above 25% for the foreseeable future.

Back On Track

Although the standard 20ft dry freight container has seen its share of the global equipment pool decline over the past decade, Drewry believes its role in the fleet is secure. Indeed, this year has seen production of the unit increase significantly with orders, particularly from ocean carriers robust. In the first eight months of the year manufacturers based in China, which account for over 96% of global output, produced close to half a million teu, which was up almost 64% year on year and 35% on the corresponding period in 2020. In terms of buyers, transport operators, including ocean carriers, and traders were responsible for an estimated 72% of deliveries made in the January-August period of 2022 with the units needed for both replacement and expansion purposes.

Container Conundrum 

While the sharp increase in the production of 20ft containers this year is partly related to some under-ordering last year as lessors and ocean carriers focused their purchasing activities on 40ft high cube containers where there was a global shortage, the demand factors for 20ft containers remain sound. There are several industries where due to the nature of cargo moved – heavy and dense – 20ft containers are more appropriate to use. 

Arguably, for lessors, the 20ft box is less marketable and, potentially, faces longer off-hire periods. Hence their purchasing of this size of box is expected to decline. Consequently, Drewry expects the 20ft container’s share of the fleet to remain stable over the next five years with the unit accounting for at least 26% of standard dry containers in service. 

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Source: Drewry

 

 

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