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Trends in Container Shipping

Proceedings of the ISL Maritime Conference 2008- 9 th and 10 th of December, World Trade Center Bremen


Edited By Burkhard Lemper and Manfred Zachcial

In the tradition of the Liner Shipping Conferences in the eighties, the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics organised again a Maritime Conference in Bremen. The aim of the conference in December 2008 was to analyse and to forecast the trends and perspectives of the international container shipping market. The international shipping industry and the global container shipping market have recently seen some of the most successful years in history. Excellent employment and high charter rates initiated a very strong order boom, especially in the highest size classes of 8.000 TEU to 12.000 TEU vessels and beyond. This development of accelerated fleet expansion met a cooling down period in global economy as a consequence of the worldwide financial crisis. The implications for the international trade markets have also affected the shipping industry and the container shipping market. Against this background the main topics of the Maritime Conference 2008 were: World economy, trade and shipping; vessel size development and its implications; implications of market growth on ports and hinterland; financing and taxation aspects.


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3 Session I – World Economy, Trade and Shipping


Chairman: Prof. Dr. Hercules Haralambides, Center for Maritime Economics and Logistics (MEL), Erasmus University Rotterdam 3.1 Globalisation and Container Shipping Demand – Consequences of the Financial Crisis Prof. Dr. Burkhard Lemper, Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) 3.1.1 Introduction Over the past decades, the container shipping industry experienced a virtually unbroken boom. The realised growth rates were much higher than those of all other large sectors in merchant shipping. While dry and liquid bulk commodities as well as most of all remaining commodity groups on average grew by around 3 % p.a., container trade according to figures of research affiliates of large and well known ship broking companies grew by almost 10 % p.a. over a period of more than 20 years.1 1 See e.g. Clarksons Research Services (2008), p. 101 See e.g. Fearnresearch (2008) Fig. 1: Development of Main Cargo Categories in Seaborne Trade 14 Burkhard Lemper During this time, the average growth rates of container handling in ports exceeded 10 % p.a. and especially the years since 2003 showed growth rates higher-than-average. For 2007, ISL estimates that about 491 million standard containers (TEU=20´ equivalent unit) were handled in ports worldwide. This does not mean traffic with full containers of the same amount as shares for transshipment, empty containers and the double counting of loading/discharging have to be deducted. However, global containerised trade is likely to have reached the volume of more that 140 million TEU of full containers. This steep growth has, at least for a certain...

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