Despite shortage, containers rotting in depots?

Container availability across China is still at a record-low, while US ports are overwhelmed by a surge of shipping containers from Asia, full of products retailers are eager to get on shelves for the holidays.

CAx 40HCs for Shanghai | Above 0.5 indicates a surplus and below 0.5 indicates a deficit of containers Source: Container xChange

Due to the fastest increase in demand after months full of blank sailings, container availability for 40HCs is only at 0.05 CAx points compared to 0.63 at the same time last year, according to the Container Availability Index.

Although the US East Coast is usually a surplus location of equipment (last year’s CAx value for 40DC was 0.7), this, the container availability dropped to 0.43 indicating actually less containers than needed.

Containers spend 45 days on average in depot

Average and median time of containers (in days) between “empty in depot” and “empty dispatched” | Source: Research Project FraunhoferCML & Container xChange

Although containers are very much in need, they still spend on average 45 days empty at depots according to a research project by FraunhoferCML and Container xChange.

Especially in regions with low container availability such as China and the US, the average is comparably high with 61 and 66 days compared to the global average of 45 days.

The high standard deviation of 85 days in North America and 129 days across Asia indicates many cases where containers spend far more days inside depots than the average suggests.

Compared to the Middle East (21 days on average) and Europe (23 days on average) it takes more than 30 extra days to move containers out of the depots and make money with them.

December 16, 2020 481
Freight

Florian is the Marketing Lead, at Container xChange, the leading marketplace for selling and buying shipping containers globally.

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