As 2019 winds down, profitability remains a moving target for container shipping lines, and unpredictable trade flows out of Asia and poor supply-demand fundamentals are clouding the container shipping outlook. Trade tensions on the trans-Pacific are changing demand patterns among US shippers, and BCOs were reporting tight space at loading ports in China and Vietnam well into the fall. Carriers are responding by adjusting schedules and adding capacity to Southeast Asian strings as BCOs shift sourcing from China to avoid US tariffs, even as expectations of a US-China trade agreement gathered momentum. Compounding the demand uncertainty is the Jan. 1 implementation date of the IMO 2020 low-sulfur fuel regulation. The head haul trade from Asia to Europe faces its own challenges, with poor supply-demand fundamentals leading to increasing capacity management by carriers. Then there is intra-Asia, the world's largest container shipping trade and one of the most volatile. BIMCO reports weakness building in the trade this year and believes it's a signal of declining export orders, prompting the global shipping association to forecast slowing Asia-Europe demand.
This webcast, featuring outlooks from the JOC and Peter Sand, BIMCO’s chief shipping analyst, will take a deep dive into the fundamentals driving the global container shipping market as 2020 approaches.