Is the lack of demand for containerships a manageable challenge?

Is the lack of demand for containerships a manageable challenge?


The low demand on the high volume trade lanes is surely increasing the pressure on earnings which is already felt in the container shipping industry.

The low demand on the high volume trade lanes is surely increasing the pressure on earnings which is already felt in the container shipping industry.

This was one of the views that, BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst, Peter Sand shared with the participants at the Maritime Cyprus 2015 Conference as he played an active part as a panellist on the session that focused on the future of the shipping market. 

As shipping is a derived demand of global economics, Sand raised attention to the difficult start of 2015 where global containership demand grew by as little as 1.1%

“Volume growth on the vital trade lane from Asia to Europe and Asia to US West Coast were down by 4.2% and 2.0% respectively. Whereas demand growth was positive on Asia to US East Coast and on Intra-Asian trade lanes”.

Next year the imports into the US East Coast will be even more in the limelight, as the third set of locks in the Panama Canal opens up for business in 2016. This new “battlefield” will put focus on the Ultra Large Containerships in the fleet.

“We expect to see a significant change to the ship sizes that will call US East Coast ports. As the ports have prepared themselves for the opening and stand ready to receive Ultra Large Containership coming via both the Panama as well as the Suez Canal. Competitive canal transit pricing is likely to play a central part when networks are optimised next year”, he said.

In spite of the currently depressed markets, there is amble room for optimism going forward. This goes for the container shipping sector as well as for the dry bulk and tanker industry.

“Increased private consumption in EU and the US should provide higher demand for containerised goods on the vital high volumes trade lanes than what we have seen in first half of 2015. This will slow down cascading. Demand on Intra-Asia will stay positive, whereas new demand may arise from Iran, Cuba, Brazil and Africa”, added Peter Sand.  

According to, the number of ships owned by Cyprus is 238, with the half of them being dry bulkers, and the other half being 60/40 spilt between tankers and containerships. However, Cyprus also enjoys being the world’s third largest location for ship management brining with it a lot of shipping interests from all over the world.

The conference took place in Limassol, Cyprus on the 13-16 September 2015.

This was the 14th Maritime Cyprus conference and this year's theme was "Game Change”. The conference focused on the market forces affecting international shipping. From policy and regulation to developments in the economy, environment and technology.

Peter Sand acted as one of the panellists on the segment titled Markets “Oracle” scheduled for Wednesday, 16th September, which looked at developments in the three main shipping markets Dry bulk, Tankers and Containers. The other panellists were: Katharina Stanzel, MD of INTERTANKO, John Bamford, MD of S&P at SSY and Themis Papadopoulos, CEO of Interorient Marine Services Limited.

Coming soon: The September edition of BIMCO’s Shipping Market Overview & Outlook.

in Copenhagen, DK


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