Costly empty container repositioning has been exacerbated by the US-China trade war, as more empty boxes than ever before head back to Asia
To tackle the issue with empty containers and help container owners with buy and sell decisions, Container xChange has launched a neutral online platform for 300+ container owners and users such as SEACO or Kuehne+Nagel. “Empty containers are a huge pain for everybody. There will always be imbalances, that is never going to be solved, but there are companies which do exactly the opposite move, and the xChange platform now has very strong coverage, so you can find containers anywhere in the world on a one-way lease basis”, said the platform’s chief executive Christian Roeloffs.
With the Container Availability Index (CAx), the xChange platform has now released another tool that makes one-way container moves easier. The index forecasts the availability of containers based on millions of containers tracked and moved through the platform – it can have values of between 0 and 1. 1 stands for an absolute overhang, 0.5 for a balance between supply and demand, and 0 indicates an absolute undersupply of free equipment.
CAx has issued new forecasts for Shanghai and Rotterdam ports for November. For 20 DCs and 40 DCs containers in Shanghai, the CAx forecasts a deficit with values of less than 0.5 which it says is “nothing special for ports in China with high demand in containers”.
The situation changes in Europe, such as Rotterdam, which usually has a surplus of containers. The index confirms the equipment situation in Rotterdam and forecasts available 40 HCs (CAx: 0.73) and 20 DCs (CAx: 0.75), but a deficit of 40 DCs (CAx: 0.28).
Container xChange marketing and communications manager Florian Frese told Container Shipping & Trade “The deficit of 40 DCs is surprising in Rotterdam. If you compare the availability of containers in 2018 and 2019 [in the graphic above]you see that the trend last year was in the opposite direction.”