Light on Container sky

Rolf Habben Jansen, head of the Hamburg shipping line Hapag-Lloyd, believes that the situation in the global container shipping industry, which has been thrown into disarray by the Corona pandemic, is visibly returning to normal.

There are still some backlogs, but at most ports worldwide the congestion has now eased, the Hapag man explained in a conference call just now. Supply chains are recovering, he said, and more and more container capacity is becoming available. On east-west routes, however, demand is declining due to inflation and rising uncertainties. As a result of the shrinking demand for transport, spot rates, i.e. the price for booking containers at short notice, also fell recently. They moved back towards pre-Corona levels. The head of the world's fifth largest shipping company referred to the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI). This tracks the development of freight rates for container shipments departing from Shanghai, the world's largest container port. With a view to the most recently ordered ships, Habben Jansen assumes that, together with the normalization of container traffic, there could even be an oversupply of transport capacity in the coming year. However, he is concerned about the high fuel costs.

But the truth is also that the world's number five container line is one of the big winners from the huge disruptions in global supply chains during the Corona pandemic. In the first nine months of this year alone, the Group's profit doubled to almost 13.8 billion euros thanks to high freight rates.

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Thomas Schneidawind

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