The global container shipping market is estimated to exhibit a steady growth over the forecast periodowing to increasing number of manufacturing units and factories in developed as well as developing regions. Container shipping makes use of multi-sized vessels, including 20, 40, 45, 48, and 53 feet for the transportation of goods from one place to another. Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) and Forty-foot Equivalent Units (FEU) are the most widely used container sizes. The type and size of these containers comply with regulations set by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) for easy transportation through trains, trucks, cranes, and ships. The most commonly used type is special or dry cargo, which can further include half-height, open side, open top, open end, flat rack, liquid bulk, modular, and refrigerated. Flat racks are used for boats, vehicles, and industrial equipment. Open side vessels are employed for transportation of vegetables, whereas open top are utilized for easy loading of odd-sized machineries and goods.
Moreover, rising demand for transportation services across the globe is also likely to drive the market over the coming years. On the other hand, growing shipping freight may pose a challenge for the global market. However, revolutionizing IT sector and growing usage of automation solutions in container transfer processes at ports, such as ship to shore operations of APM terminals at Rotterdam and the TraPac terminal in LA, are projected to support the industry growth. Furthermore, growing number of mergers and acquisitions activities is projected to have a positive impact on the market growth. For example, Ocean Network Express (ONE), a new joint venture, announced by three Japanese companies including K-Line, NYK, and MOL, received merger approvals in the recent past and the new firm started its operations in April 2018.
IBM Corp. and Maersk Group recently announced a new blockchain-based joint venture to offer a global trade digitization platform and address the needs for simplicity and transparency in shipping across border and trading zones. Development of block chain technology to support the intercontinental e-commerce will eventually fuel demand for the product in the years to come. The market is expected to witness significant growth in developed regions, such as North America and Europe on account of presence of better transportation services. U.S. is the leading country for container transport in North America, followed by Canada. Whereas in Europe, countries including, U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, are likely to contribute significantly to the market growth.
Asia Pacific is projected to witness potential growth opportunities on account of presence of several developing nations, including Japan, China, and India and emergence of a number of leading companies due to low labor costs. Rising number of manufacturing units in the region is also contributing significantly to the growth. Key companies are adopting marketing strategies, such as partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, novel product development, and technological innovations in order to strengthen their position in the market. For instance, recently at Innovation Expo 2018, Kotug demonstrated its remote-controlled tug, which can eliminate risks to crew members during normal ship handling operations. The demonstration was a joint industry project supported by several stakeholders including Alphatron. Kotug believes that this development will eventually lead to unmanned autonomous shipping.
Some of the prominent companies operating the global container shipping market are A.P. Moller–Maersk Group; HAPAG-LLOYD AG, China Ocean Shipping Company, Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A., China Shipping Container Lines Co., Ltd., and Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd.
Research Support Specialist, USA