Container shipping upturn expected

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  • There are signs the global container shipping industry can expect a noticeable upturn in the short term, according to DHL Ocean Freight Market update
  • The ocean freight market has grown year-on-year since October of 2023
  • The global GDP is expected to be 2.5% this year from 2.3% in 2023
  • ‘There are clear indicators that the economic tide is shifting in favor of trade growth’

There are signs that the global container shipping industry can expect a noticeable upturn in the short term.

This is according to the DHL Ocean Freight Market update report for April, which was recently released to media and industry practitioners.

According to the report, since October of 2023, the Ocean Freight market has grown year-on-year, with exports from Asia expanding and signs of a trans-Atlantic trade recovery.

S&P Global Market Intelligence said the global gross domestic product is forecast to grow to 2.5% this year, from 2.3% last year. This is based on predictions of improvement from the US, Canada, the eurozone, the UK, and Russia.

Niki Frank, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific, said, “There are now clear indicators that the economic tide is shifting in favor of trade growth. Demand from Asia into North America is particularly brisk.”

The report said it expects to continue at least into the summer increases in rate hikes on all Asia outbound lanes due to increased demand and load factors coupled with equipment challenges in more ports now.

New containership deliveries is driving a 9.6% annual fleet growth rate, according to the report. Vessel diversions and additional summer service deployments, however, absorb available supply.

In the coming weeks, the report noted that the number of vessels redirected to the Cape Route is expected to reach 5 million twenty equivalent units.

The idle container vessel fleet currently stands at 0.4% (62 vessels) only.

The pickup in growth momentum could be vulnerable to geopolitical risks, for example a major escalation of the conflict in the Middle East that would materially impact growth, the report said.