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Developments container traffic

Developments container traffic

You might have seen some messages on the decline in reliability of the (container) carrier schedules, it has reached a historical low this year. We often get questions about the duration of this situation and when we expect an improvement, as much as we like to bring you good news we can only be realistic and tell you there will be no improvement on short terms.

This conclusion is based on three main developments that have changed the shipping industry significantly:

  1. Slow steaming :
    from 2007 onwards big containerships started to sail with main purpose to save on fuel costs.
  2. Larger vessels :
    bigger ships with less ports capable to coop (in 5 years’ time average capacity increased from 11.000 to 20.000 TEU ships).
  3. More and bigger shipping alliances :
    the larger alliances further limit the flexibility of the sailing schedules. The main connection between these points is the increased transit times : once the smaller vessels with a top speed of 27 knots where able to make up for lost time underway, whereas the last generation container vessels are designed for a cruising speed of 19 knots (and a topspeed of 23 knots), the fuel saving argument left aside. The number of (transshipment)ports that are able to service these huge vessels limit the flexibility in the sailing schedules. This is further increased by the big alliances where more demands in more ports ensure less diversion possibilities.

The weather conditions, strikes and terminal delays have been another major factor the last two years.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

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