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Where have all the cheap containers gone

Wednesday, 2nd February 2011
Shipping container prices have been rising steadily over the last 18 months and cheap boxes seem to be a thing of the past. The cost increase is not only in London and Essex, containers for sale are fetching similar prices the world over. ISO containers have become a commodity subject to price fluctuations driven by supply and demand. World trade is buoyant, increased export demand from the Far East generates a need for containers to ship exported goods from Asia to be imported into the West. Inter Asia trade is also very busy with a huge number of containers only reaching the Middle East before returning to Asia on a loop, cutting out any redeliveries to Europe all together. The shipping lines have mostly all now returned to profit, however slow steaming and extra slow steaming continue allowing them to save fuel costs. The knock on effect is the price of used containers owing to such volumes of equipment afloat on vessels, many now able to carry 13000 TEU. There are rumours that one the world largest shipping lines is considering placing orders for 18000 TEU vessels which will compound the issue further. These increased prices obviously filter through to other areas utilising containers such as self storage facilities. In London for example there has been an increase in prices from companies that offer containers for hire with rental charges up on last year. Container conversions too have been effected, although in the grand scheme of things with bespoke modifications the cost of the box is often negligible.

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