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11 Октября 2017

RLL Container Report - 11 October 2017

From: John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd. Email: john.keir@telia.com Date: 11 October 2017

In the depths of a Siberian mine.

For once, the task of predicting the shape of things to come is rather easy: container vessels will be far larger and they will be coming out of shipyards in the Far East at a much faster rate. This year, monthly vessel deliveries have been running at 100,000 teu with a peak of 125,000 teu in July. Lines have placed large orders for vessels with a capacity of 19,000 to 21,000 teu, which will result in one of these giant vessels being launched every three weeks. Vessels of 12,000 teu capacity, which only very recently ruled the seas in Asia and Europe are now being relegated to the second division of trade routes. Currently, slot capacity is rising at eleven percent on the main trade route out of the Far East to Rotterdam but some concerns are being expressed about the ability of the market to absorb all this additional slot capacity. If not, will some services have to be reduced?

Rail intermodal operators in Russian and the CIS have no such problems: this is one of the joys of starting from a low base. It is calculated that some 55 to 60% of goods on the main trade routes binding the world are now carried in boxes. By comparison, the level of containerisation in Russia and the CIS is in the region of 6.2%. Compare this with around 40% in the USA, 35% in the European Union and India’s highly commendable figure of 36%. However, the CIS is showing distinct signs of building up a head of steam: in the first seven months of the year, Russian Railways reported an impressive growth rate of 24% in containerised goods on their network. It is important to note that this upturn was generated not only by import and export flows but by an increase in containerised cargoes moving on purely domestic routes.

Siberia has witnessed a significant switch to boxes in the pulp, paper and non-ferrous metal trades, while at the same time the region has been in the forefront of containerising grain transports. However, success brings with it its own logistical problems. Major producers, who are supplying to a global market have to comply with global standards such as “foodgrade”, “papergrade” or 30-ton rated containers, which are readily available on the main trade routes but less so - Во глубине сибирских руд (“in the depths of a Siberian mine”). The problem is exacerbated by the approach of the major container lessors, who are still wary of taking on the mighty Russian bear in its massive and chilly backyard. This is a Russian problem and therefore requires a Russian solution in the form of a Russian container lessor or, better still, lessors. The government should take money from the sale of TransContainer and invest it in at least two Russian container lessors, which could supply new equipment to clients on long-term leases of up to five years. The number of containers controlled by the Russian lessor is not important, as the emergence of a major local actor in such a large market with huge potential will be enough to break the current logjam in the supply chain.

John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd.
11 October 2017

Copyright ©, 2017, John Keir

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