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Update: The Great Freight Rate Race

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Author(s): Matthew Gore, Partner, Holman Fenwick Willan LLP, London, UK

Despite persistent volume growth, in recent years many lines have seen poor financial performance. Underlying adverse market conditions have been the imbalance between supply and demand, causing major
fluctuations in freight rates. Increasing orders for ultra-large vessels, now in the region of 20,000 TEU, have generated overcapacity, driving rates down further. The combined effect of overcapacity, depressed rates and container flow imbalances has been to reduce profits significantly – down 15% in the last five years for the top 20 carriers. This figure would be worse were it not for the inclusion of those lines which have countered this trend and outperformed competitors…

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