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Yang Ming Marine Transport chairman Cheng Cheng-mount:

"Market will not return to its pre-pandemic troubles"

At an investment seminar organized by the Taiwan Stock Exchange on 12 September, Yang Ming Marine Transport chairman Cheng Cheng-mount claimed that the ongoing correction in container freight rates is ‘just a blip’, stating that the market should not be worried that the segment could return to its pre-pandemic troubles.

According to Cheng, port congestion remains a problem and how soon this will normalize will determine the longer term outlook for freight rates. Schedule reliability for the industry is still under 50%, meaning that ships are being held up.

Last week, the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index lost 10%, but the loss on the Asia-US West Coast freight market was higher at 12%. Asia-US East Coast freight rates were corrected by nearly 9%, compared with 5% the previous week.

Although shipping executives have tried to calm the market, market analysts appear to be more pessimistic. HSBC Hong Kong recently released a report saying that liner operators' profits could fall by 80% from 2023 to 2024, as supply could exceed demand, especially with a high number of new buildings being delivered.

The bank forecasts container trade to dip by 2% this year, 3% in 2023, before recovering by 2.5% in 2024. Boxship fleet growth is estimated at 6.2% this year, 6.5% in 2023 and 8% in 2024.


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