Drewry Shipping Consultants warns that container trade data indicates the market is in a recovery phase but this sentiment must be treated with caution.
“Until we see consistent month-on-month improvements on the main trades into this year’s peak season period, we cannot seriously suggest the current global recession is over and that the container sector can heave a sigh of relief,” the company said in a note to clients Monday.
Neil Dekker, editor of the Drewry Container Forecaster says one of the major challenges for the industry going forward is the relationship between shippers and shipping companies who have played the ‘blame game’ with regards to short shipments and phantom bookings.
“Drewry for some time emphasised that carriers and shippers need to get closer to each other and that this itself can only help to engender more rate stability,” wrote Dekker.
In a gloomy forecast for 2010 Dekker said: “This year will be a very tough one for the carriers to balance capacity against forecast demand, and should too much tonnage be brought back in or too quickly, it is possible that the freight rate improvements, giving carriers much needed cash injections, could be derailed to some extent.”
While much of the Drewry report was bleak, the editor also attested to positive developments in the sector.
Dekker added:”We have also noted robust trade volumes moving on the Asia to Australia and Asia to East Coast South America routes since the beginning of this year. The charter market has shown signs of improvement, some larger vessels are comming out of lay up and a number of new services are being launched in regional and smaller trade lanes-all suggesting positive signs.”