Global Ocean Freight Market

  • Global ocean freight is dominated by large vessels (depicted in the map), as VOCs have standard service schedules and direct port calls. The size of the vessel deployed is also dependent upon trade volume, draft at ports and handling capacity 
  • The Asia Pacific’s ocean freight market is dominated by small vessels, as the majority of the shipments are transshipments be tween hub and spoke ports


Global Ocean Freight Market Outlook

The ocean container transportation market is dominated by the top five liners. They have global presence and are able to offer services across geographies in a seamless manner

Global Player

  • Highly consolidated players with multi-trade lane offerings. The top service providers have a strong global presence 
  • There is a focus on containing fuel costs and maximising utilisation rates of the ships

Regional Players

  • Apart from the top 20-odd global players, there are numerous small operators who operate either regional shuttles or feeder vessels catering to a particular region 
  • The 3PL, freight forwarders and NVOCCs market slot spaces to smaller and regional shippers

3PL, freight forwarders and NVOCCs

  • 3PL, freight forwarders and NVOCCs obtain slots from the carriers and in turn sell the container spaces to the end shipper
  • Leading firms which function in this space are DHL, Kuehne Nagel, Expeditors, CEVA and DB Schenker
  • They are able to consolidate volume and offer it to the ocean carriers

End Coustomers

  • Direct sales are employed for high-volume buyers globally
  • A majority of the top suppliers have direct presence in all continents
  • While regional carriers target shippers who use predominantly three to five trade lanes

Global Ocean Freight Market Maturity

  • Vessels with a capacity of more than 10,000 TEU depend on freight forwarders or 3PLs to fill space in the container to increase utilisation rate, so that cost per TEU will be reduced
  • Approximately 102 million TEU volume of ocean freight handled by direct engagement with the ocean liners
  • Approximately 15 million TEU handled by top 10 global freight forwarders 
  • 50–53 million TEU handled by regional or local freight forwarders

Ocean Freight Trend

Impact of Current Liners M&A Activities and Rate Trends

  • The front-heavy delivery schedule for 2018 has place carriers in a tight spot during the slower first quarter, most critically after the Chinese New Year, when the demand will take its usual tumble. Ship utilization will probably take a hit during the lull and wipe out any pre-CNY boost given to freight rates – a potentially damaging scenario for Transpacific contracts
  • However, as the demand has reasserts itself from the second quarter, the balance between supply and demand swing back towards carriers. These factors downgraded the expectations for the average global freight rates (blended spot and contract) in 2018 to 3.8 percent (previously 6.5 percent)
  • Port and trade statistics are all trending up, with the strong momentum for global port throughput that started at the end of 2016 continuing to build through 2017. The strength of the demand recovery witnessed last year was beyond expectations, and subsequently, outlook for the world’s port throughput in 2018 is expected to be approximately 4.3 percent
  • Current market scenario indicates that shippers have nothing to fear from consolidation, the industry is heading toward a scenario, whereby a small handful of dominant carriers dictate matters, but there is still healthy competition in most trades for now. Shippers will need to stay watchful for deals that impact their main routes