As we enter 2010, the container leasing industry finds itself well-positioned to meet the new global trade requirements of slower growth and the challenges for the international container transport industry as carriers realign their service capacities.
Unlike vessel orders that have a long order-delivery lead time, container manufacturing lead-time is relatively short. When the international trade market started to decline in 2008, new purchases of containers fell rapidly. As a result, a limited number of containers were manufactured in 2009, including specialized equipment. With the normal 5 percent attrition of containers because of age and condition, the world container fleet actually declined in 2009 for the first time in the history of containerization. Current global container inventories have essentially been reset to 2007 levels, positioning the container leasing industry for growth with the market.
Market demand for containers is expected to exceed container supply in 2010. International trade is projected to continue its recovery with 2010 growth in the 3 to 5 percent range. Additional vessel slots and containers will be deployed to meet the demand, which will likely stimulate the resumption of container purchases in 2010 to fulfill increased container requirements.
Through access to funding, fleet flexibility and creative solutions that may be unavailable or undesirable to ocean carriers, the container leasing industry has the ability to assist carriers in keeping their supply of equipment in balance with the market demands, thus allowing carriers to focus on their core business and their recovery from a difficult 2009.