Hamburg-based liner Hapag-Lloyd has splashed approximately $550m on new containers, making it one of the largest orders in the company’s history.
The move comes at a time when there is a major container shortage on major liner routes resulting in substantial freight rate hikes.
The company has already taken delivery of some of the 150,000 teu of standard dry and reefer boxes this year, but the majority of these boxes will be delivered by Chinese manufacturers in the months ahead and before the end of 2021.
In addition, Hapag-Lloyd has ordered 8,000 teu of special containers to be used for over-sized and dangerous goods.
“The container shipping industry is currently seeing unprecedented demand, which has led to a shortage of containers all over the world. With its recent container orders, Hapag-Lloyd is contributing to efforts to ease the current situation and will be able to offer its customers a much better service,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd.
Demand for new containers remains strong, confirming last year’s report from maritime consultancy Drewry with output in 2021 expected to leap as much as 40%, principally out of China, with further growth anticipated in subsequent years.
“The ramp up of newbuild production will certainly help alleviate some of the ongoing container equipment shortages, but the greatest impact will come from a normalisation of cargo demand development and carrier sailing schedules, as Covid-19 related disruption unwinds through the first half of 2021,” Drewry suggested.
One container shipping expert also told Splash earlier this year: “Currently there is some demand for additional production. Longer term the global container fleet will remain at around 1.6 times the liner ship capacity.”