Insight

Global container shipping outlook for 2017: rearranging the deck chairs—with only a few seats in the sun

March 2017
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The outlook for global container carriers remains grim at the outset of 2017. Yet hope remains for the shipping industry. Although carriers will struggle to improve their financial performance this year, they can take clear steps to shore up balance sheets in this difficult environment.

At a glance

  • Carriers will have to make some hard decisions in 2017, as nearly every key financial indicator worsened from the previous year.  
  • The Hanjin Shipping Co. bankruptcy helped create a rare seller’s market that lasted through the close of 2016. Carriers must use this unique opportunity to maintain higher rate levels and take additional steps to relieve their financial woes.
  • They should continue to drive down costs through effective post-merger integration and fleet rationalization activities that can bring supply and demand back into balance.

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