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Hapag-Lloyd boosts fleet to reduce turn times as BCOs cling to boxes

GERMAN shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd has expanded its container fleet anticipating that more cargo owners will hold onto boxes longer because of the virus scare and the resulting equipment imbalance

12 May 2020 - 19:00

GERMAN shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd has expanded its container fleet anticipating that more cargo owners will hold onto boxes longer because of the virus scare and the resulting equipment imbalance.

'Turn times will also slow because people need to keep their boxes for longer,' said Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen, reported IHS Media.



'If you accept that global trade volume will go down by the 10 to 11 per cent indicated by Clarksons, if we increase the container fleet we can accommodate a turn time that is 10 to 15 per cent slower,' he said.



The decision by the world's fifth largest liner company to expand its container fleet 5 to 10 per cent - 100,000 TEU have already been added - was made to counter growing turn times as shippers are forced to store boxes filled with consumer products or spare manufacturing parts in economies that are still mostly closed.



That is exacerbating an equipment imbalance that has already been influenced by blank sailings that have removed 30 per cent of capacity from the Asia-Europe and transpacific trades.



Forwarders have already warned that cargo flows were becoming more uneven across key markets as the extensive blank sailings further influenced a natural container imbalance on headhaul and backhaul trades.



With shippers holding on to boxes longer and the equipment imbalance intensifying, Mr Habben Jansen said that expanding the container fleet was necessary to ensure the availability of boxes.


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