‘Edge of a deep abyss’ for boxes

A REPORT on the container market is likely to be tough reading for the beleaguered shipping sector.

Published last week by shipping consultancy Drewry, the report painted a bleak picture: “With nearly half of the year gone, the industry is looking at the edge of a deep abyss.” Cargoes are not showing any real sign of picking up, and freight rate recovery is minimal at best. But the greatest concern is that Asian volumes were down 14.4% year on year, and those in Southeast Asia fell by 18.4%. Such figures firmly point to a continued drop in exports to the main consumer nations in Europe and the US, the study predicted, with global handling activity declining up to 10% by the end of this year. On rates, the report said carriers have failed to secure increases in eastbound trans-Pacific trade. That point supported last week’s finding by IHS Global Insight, which predicted that rates would continue to drift down.

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