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Despite shippers expanding their container fleets:

Port congestion and strong demand likely to keep rates elevated

Although container shipping companies are investing in new capacity, rates are likely to remain elevated amid the global shortage. This shortage has seen average container costs rise by three or four times, especially for material from Asia to Latin America.

Last Friday, German container shipowner Hapag-Lloyd announced that it has ordered 60,000 TEU of shipping containers in May, on top of the 150,000 TEUs it ordered in April.  Global shipping major AP Moller-Maersk said in May that it has increased its capital expenditure (capex) budget for 2021-2022 to $7 bln from $4.5-5.5 bln, with some of that to be spent on additional containers.

However, other issues, such as congestion at ports, sailing delays, capacity imbalances (especially from Asia) and delays in inland transports, combined with continued strong demand for imports in the Americas are likely to keep container freight rates elevated.

According to an article on¸ these unfortunate dynamics have led to containers being tied up for longer periods of time, which means shipping companies need more containers to transport the same volume at the same rate of sailings.

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