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5 Crucial Container Shipping Trends For 2022- Shippers were hoping for market stability in 2022, given the harsh conditions and volatility in the container shipping sector since 2020.
There was little cause for celebration as events progressed because uncertainty persisted and was further made worse by additional troubling incidents like the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the rise of Covid cases in China.
Impact on the container shipping sector in 2022 and evaluate the direction and strength of their influence on the industry’s economic climate and operational facets.
5 Crucial Container Shipping Trends For 2022
Equipment Shortages, Ongoing Disturbances, And Limited Space
The market for container shipping will likely continue to see the large-scale disruptions the sector has seen since 2020 when Covid caused havoc on global supply chains.
These delays and the ensuing unreliability led to exponentially increased prices and historically low levels of schedule dependability, which had differing effects on shippers and carriers.
Carriers have made record profits even though Shippers and End Users have been forced to pay more for shipping space to keep their Supply Chains at least partially operational.
Despite Shippers’ hopes for a return to pre-Covid levels in 2022, the course of events since the beginning of the year has increased the likelihood that supply chain disruptions and schedule unreliability will persist into 2022 as well.
Therefore, shippers will need to start getting ready to meet these challenges and best optimize their supply chain by using an innovative and agile strategy in addition to strict end-to-end control.
A Backlog At The Ports
The extraordinary levels of congestion that plagued major ports globally were one of the contributing elements to the interrupted transport networks. While the spotlight has primarily been on US West Coast ports, most essential ports in the US East Coast and Europe have also been affected.
Due to rising American consumer demand, the bottleneck first appeared in US West Coast ports (because of changed spending and trading patterns fueled by a lockdown-induced shift from services to goods). Shippers and carriers began substituting East Coast ports due to the vessels’ congestion at US West Coast ports (an option enabled by the Panama Canal expansion a few years back). Congestion, however, has resulted at the East Coast ports as well.
A similar sequence of events played out at European ports too.
It became a worldwide phenomenon since there was a shortage at origin ports across Asia due to the vessel capacity and containers locked up at the jam-packed American and European ports.
Increase in the number of vessels lining up at North American ports. Still, at first glance, it doesn’t seem like fewer sailings primarily brought on this development over the Chinese New Year rather than any structural improvement in the overall situation.
Looking at the congestion levels for the first three months of 2022 and the sailing schedules provided by Container Carriers, it appears unlikely that the congestion levels will be reduced in 2022.
Lockdowns Caused By COVID
The Covid epidemic and the subsequent preventative lockdowns enacted by nations worldwide set off the entire sequence of disruptive events.
The hazards presented by Covid have slightly decreased over the past year, but the appearance of new strains and a revival in China has challenged the shaky worldwide recovery.
Lockdowns have been implemented at essential ports and industry hubs like Yantian, Shanghai, etc., making the situation in China extremely frightening. The potential scope of these lockdowns’ effects is more problematic. For instance, analysts say the lockout in Yantian a few months ago caused more freight delays than the Suez Canal closure did the previous year.
An interesting observation is that, even though ports and terminals occasionally remain open during lockdowns, port operations are slowed by the lack of labour and cargo that isn’t delivered at the port’s premises or moved to hinterland sites.
The uncertainty of the situation has affected every link in the supply chain. Carriers find that port calls on their schedules may be cancelled at short notice. Shippers see that inland transport restrictions make it challenging to move inventory and cargo, reducing production and throwing off delivery schedules.
A Concern For The Environment And Green Supply Chains
We are witnessing an increased focus on environmentally friendly business and commercial activities as environmental consciousness spreads worldwide and consumers and corporations become increasingly aware of their obligations to decrease their total carbon footprint.
Sustainability has become a buzzword for large corporations due to a rising customer desire for eco-friendly goods and services and their readiness to pay a premium.
Shippers and manufacturers worldwide are placing a greater emphasis on emissions reduction and smaller carbon footprints when choosing transport vendors (including shipping companies and inland haulers), to the point that higher weight is being given to these aspects in the annual tendering process.
Governments, international trade organizations, and maritime organizations are all becoming more aware of the need for shipping to reduce emissions, and they have set challenging emission reduction goals. Major container carriers have gone one step further and set themselves more ambitious emission reduction goals than what the law requires.
Additionally, carriers are increasing their funding for studies aimed at lowering emissions and opening up to investing in new technologies and fuels. The LNG-fueled ships that an increasing number of Carriers have chosen in the last few years are an example of this.
This is, however, explained by the fact that even though, in comparison to other modes of transportation, as well as on a per-unit basis, shipping is the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation, the sheer volume of internationally traded cargo that the maritime sector services mean that the total emission levels generated by the shipping industry are massive.
Overall, this is one of the more encouraging trends in the shipping sector. Even though it is anticipated to increase freight rates slightly, it will significantly impact sustainable global trade and development.
Automation And Digitization
The shipping industry hasn’t typically been a leader in adopting new cutting-edge technologies. Still, the unpredictable chaos brought on by the series of black swan events over the past two years has made planning the transport and shipping process much more difficult for carriers and shippers, forcing carriers to consider investing in sophisticated transport planning systems and laying greater emphasis on risk management.
Carriers are progressively coming to the idea that it is impractical to rely on essential planning tools given the variations and combinations that the current environment generates.
The sector has invested substantially in technical solutions and established industry groups to standardize procedures, enable automation, and encourage the adoption of standard industry-wide practices.
The most prominent industry players have investigated Blockchain technology and the rising use of Big Data, AI, and ML for a few years. Market leaders have even collaborated to apply these technologies to the marine sector.
Following the involvement of the more prominent participants, medium-sized carriers and ports have also joined the collaboration, quickly establishing the core mass required for such technology to be widely adopted and become the industry standard.
The container shipping industry is growing rapidly and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. These trends will have a significant impact on how companies do business and transport goods. It is important for businesses to stay up to date on these trends and adapt their strategies accordingly.