Maersk Line said it will start manufacturing new containers in response to an “unprecedented” shortage of boxes in Asia caused by an unexpectedly strong rebound in cargo demand.
The world’s largest ocean carrier also will lease containers to combat the shortage of boxes which it expects to worsen in the coming peak shipping season.
Asia-Europe Westbound Container Traffic: By The Numbers.
“We have also re-activated laid-up container ships to assist in repositioning containers as fast as possible from, for example, the east coast of North America and Latin America to Asia,” said Lars Reno Jakobsen, Head of Network and Product and a member of Maersk Line’s management board.
Maersk last week cited equipment shortages when it announced a peak season surcharge of $750 for a 20-foot container and $1,000 for a 40-footer on the Asia-Europe trade effective July 15.
“The present market situation is unique. We are experiencing a demand surge in most trades which is a development that is both unprecedented and unexpected by us and our customers,” Jakobsen said.
The Asia-Europe trade is growing at an annualized rate of 23 percent compared to the market’s single digit expectation just six months ago.
“Therefore we already see a very tight equipment situation. And we expect an even more pronounced and serious shortage of containers in the coming months as we enter the peak season,” Jakobsen said.
“We have been working hard in the last couple of months to minimize the inconvenience for our customers. And we are adamant that we continue to live up to the container commitments we make, also through the peak season.”
During the container shipping recession from the end of 2008 through 2009 many ocean carriers and container leasing companies stopped sourcing and producing equipment, Maersk said.
"As carriers and shippers did not expect the current demand surge, the necessary equipment has not been ordered in 2010, ultimately resulting in the global shortage in equipment," it said.
The carrier said the Asia-Europe peak season surcharge will help it to recover the higher costs caused by increased volumes and equipment shortages and ensure it can continue to offer its service in a sustainable manner.
“ To make it easy and transparent for our customers in this trade we are only applying one peak season surcharge and we will therefore not announce separate surcharges or rate increases in connection with the peak season,” the carrier said today, June 17.
Maersk said it expects the equipment shortage to last through the third quarter of the year “and will continue to work close together with all stakeholders, not least our customers, to further reduce equipment turnaround times.”
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