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Liner shipping in 2019 and a view to 2020

There are numerous indicators that can be used to gauge the health of the container shipping market, including port statistics, spot market freight rate benchmarks, the idle fleet ratio and carrier operating profits. Generally, these will all point broadly in the same direction, making it fairly easy to see if carriers have the wind behind them or pressing against them in front.

Unfortunately, for independent observers such as Drewry, those metrics have been slightly less reliable in 2019 than in the past. The cause being two extraordinary and unrelated events that have skewed normal comparisons; namely the US-China trade war and the imminent IMO mandate on the use of cleaner marine fuel.

Simon Heaney, Drewry, Senior Manager of Container Research, London, UK

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