Imbalance in Global Trade Sees Geographical Concentration on Pre-Booked Containers

The last seven weeks have been very busy for most ports in the transpacific and Asia-Europe trade lane. This is as a result of the sudden increase in consumer spending. The drive-in consumer demand leading to the shortage of containers, driving carriers to release more vessel capacities and to cancel all blank sailings, has placed the shipping container industry in a position where various questions have been asked and forecast have been given about what the next couple of months would look like for global trade..

While some analyst share similarities between the slowdown and sudden increase in trade for this year with that of 2010. One of the major challenge faced in 2010 when there was an increase in demand was how to use the low capacity of vessels that was available, to meet the growth in demand.  The graph below from BIMCO, shows the gap between the fleet capacity and that of the growth in demand, from 2010 to 2019.

Container Shipping Fleet Growth and Demand

While 2010 had a huge gap between the growth in fleet capacity and the growth in demand, that challenge has improved today with the availability of more vessels.

However, the concern about trade imbalance with the lack of containers still seems to be an issue. A report published by on the situation of little or no containers available in India gives one suggestion concerning the trade imbalance on the basis that once exports from the US, China, and Europe picks up, things will improve in India. The main concern this year with the growth in demand dwells more on container unavailability.

Taking a look at data from the largest container trading marketplace platform in the world, the month to month increase in the use of the platform grew by 9% in September, this year. With the launch of a new feature in August on for pre-listing and pre-booking containers online, 70% of the listings uploaded in September were made using this new feature. The new feature attracted pre-listed containers on the platform from these top five regions, the USA, India, China, Poland, and Singapore.  

The new feature introduced on helps container trader’s as well as shipping lines to pre-list or pre-book containers with a specified future date. The future date given is the date at which the containers will be available for pickup in a given location. The price at which the container is sold is the agreed price on the platform when the container is pre-booked, and this price is fixed. With the introduction of this new feature at a time when the prices of containers were on an increase, there was a 30% use of this new feature to pre-book the containers pre-listed. Units pre-booked concentrated more in regions such as Germany, Poland, Spain, and the Czech Republic.

The significant focus on Europe could suggest that containers can be moved easily and fast enough from Europe to China and other parts of Asia, where the demand for containers is on an increase as shippers pay more for less. Experts believe that the demand for containers especially in China will continue until after the Chinese New year by next year. is present in 184 countries globally and is the largest global marketplace used for trading SOC containers, with the number of containers listed and sold at once since inception by users, ranging from 1 up to 35,000 containers. offers a safe place to trade and is built with one of its focus being transparency in trade.

Do you have containers available to sell or would you like to buy containers? Click to find your ideal container.

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