According to a recent report on the Maritime Containerization market by Global Industry Analysts (US), by 2015, global maritime container traffic (empty and loaded) might reach 411.7 million TEUs after tripling in volume from 1995 through 2008. The promising figures take into account the increasing use of containerization for shipping bulk cargo, the incorporation of advanced computer technology for automating processes and activities, key partnerships among terminal operators, and technological progress in alternative fuels and pollution control systems.
The persistent long-term growth in maritime container freight indicates sustained global economic activity, says the report, driven by an increase in the exchange of goods and services worldwide, increased demand for imported goods, liberalization of the transportation sector, and technological improvements such as e-commerce and containerization.
Maritime transport is a key element in national and global supply and distribution chains, and as merchandise trade gains in importance so too does container traffic. Another factor that significantly affects the volume of container traffic is the rising levels of trade with Asian trading partners.
The maritime containerization sector is closely correlated to economic cycles and thus the recovery of the world economy and a favourable merchandise imports-exports scenario will cause a resurgence of container throughput at worldwide seaports.
Container shipping in China and India, for instance, promises a quick rebound in terms of container traffic volumes and the building of new ships, whereas western countries are on the whole likely to continue feeling the effects of the crisis for a longer period, reflecting on container traffic.
The report considers that the growing awareness of energy efficient and environment friendly products among shippers and consumers, along with the government initiatives and legislation, will generate more opportunities in the market.