2020 has been a pretty turbulent year for the maritime transport industry. You’d think that there may well have been a boost to shipping as planes were grounded, PPE and Covid related goods joined the list of products being shipped around the globe, and global e-commerce boomed. In part, this is true, but the industry still continues to suffer (like almost every other) due to Covid, and Global maritime trade will plunge by 4.1% in 2020 due to the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19, UNCTAD estimates.
The news isn’t all bad, the same analysts at UNCTAD predict a growth of 4.8% in 2021, that is assuming world economic output recovers. But devastating failures and events like the collapse of ONE Apus’ holding decks and loss of around 2000 x 40′ containers full of goods into the Pacific won’t help the recovery – and it comes with many a knock-on effect too.
Below is the ONE Apus arriving in Kobe, Japan after its troubles at sea. The loss of goods, downtime involved in unloading and subsequent repairs, plus the $200m plus insurance payouts to those who have goods on board are only the tip of the iceberg. Delays across the whole chain mean an industry that has done so well to make changes and pivot just to stay afloat in 2020 has more battling to do yet.
It’s not just the shipping line who will feel this either. We operate an international freight business that started the year wondering how many containers would hit the UK shores as businesses continued to top up supplies pre-brexit. But has spent the most part staying on top of changes, delays, and other issues for clients (both import and export). Just this one incident may mean that thousands of businesses who have spent the year receiving goods late, now may be left with no goods to start 2021 with. It really is a catastrophic event.
Bolt-on the fact that China has had real trouble keeping up with the production of new containers for the industry and you’ve got a bit of a perfect storm. Containers are not so readily available for purchase at global docks, as they are very much needed back in China. Heading back empty to be used for new goods is a costly exercise as well. This has affected the Container Sales and Container Hire operations of businesses like our very own ST Containers.
Oh, and there is the fact that 2000 x 40 foot containers now sit at the bottom of the ocean (somewhere around 3miles down) never to be recovered.
Doesn’t 2020 just keep on giving…. What a year!
If you import goods, or export from the UK and would like to discuss your freight operations give our team a call today or complete our freight transport enquiry form.
Or if you are in need of a shipping container for storage, conversion or something else right now but are having issues sourcing one then get in touch with our team at ST Containers and we’ll do our best to help.