Four Outlooks for International Container Shipping Market in 2019

1. The global economic recovery momentum may weaken

In 2019, the risk has increased in the global economy cyclical recovery. In particular, some emerging economies have their own economic vulnerabilities, its economic and financial situation is grim which has become an important risk threatening the growth of the world economy.

2. Global container shipping growth rate continues to fall

Since 2018, global trade friction has escalated, the trade environment has been severe, and the trade growth has slowed down. In 2019, factors of uncertainty and instability such as tightening monetary policy, global trade environment tensions, and geopolitical risks in major developed economies will still have an impact on global trade. The global container shipping volume may be affected by this and the growth rate will continue to fall. The Shanghai International Shipping Research Center expects that the global container shipping growth to reach 4.1% in 2019, reaching 209 million TEUs. Among them, the growth rate of the main route shipping volume may be slowed down. The Pacific route is affected by Sino-US trade friction and some cargo owners will concentrate on shipping in 2018, which will have a certain impact on the shipping volume in 2019. The intra-regional routes and the north-south routes will continue to grow at a faster rate.

3. Global container capacity has grown at a low rate.

On the whole, it is estimated that the total capacity of the container fleet in 2019 will be 22.604 million TEU, an increase of 3.3%. 

4. The freight rate market is under pressure overall.

The international container transportation market is still in the stage of recovery and adjustment, and the industry supply and demand pattern is improving, but it still faces greater pressure of excess capacity. It is expected that the freight index will be under pressure in 2019, and the annual average will be between 750 and 800 points.

In terms of routes, the freight rate performance of the routes within the region may be superior to the main routes. The Pacific route is affected by Sino-US trade frictions, and the market has overdrawn the large-scale transportation demand. In the first half of 2019, the freight rate will be under pressure; the super-large container ships delivered in 2019 will continue to be placed on the Asia-Europe route, while being affected by the European economy. The slowdown in growth and the rapid development of China-European trains will also slow down the growth rate of sea freight. The freight rate of Asia-Europe route is under pressure. Although the international manufacturing industry chain cannot be easily reversed in the short term, Southeast Asian economies have begun to undertake parts. Industrial transfer, coupled with the improvement of infrastructure construction in Southeast Asia, the future development of Southeast Asia routes will become a bright spot.

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