Global Container Shipping Industry Sets Sights on Tech Investment, Capacity Concerns

The global container shipping industry may be dealing with a volatile situation in the Red Sea at the moment, but for most professionals in the space, 2024 should provide plenty of happy moments.

According to a survey of over 1,200 supply chain professionals conducted by Container xChange, 74% anticipate positive growth in 2024 for the global container shipping industry. Just over half – 53% – expect an increase in prices, while only 21% are expressing pessimism of a price decline.

“As we navigate the evolving landscape of the global container shipping industry, the positive shift in sentiment revealed by our annual survey is a promising indicator for 2024,” Christian Roeloffs, co-founder and CEO of Container xChange, said in a release. “Supply chain professionals are strategically rethinking trade routes and embracing technology to foster resilience and innovation. While we are optimistic about the industry’s growth, we remain vigilant, recognizing potential disruptions in 2024, such as geopolitical tensions.”

The Container xChange Container Price Sentiment Index mirrors the survey results, consistently showing higher results in the second half of 2023 and indicating improved sentiment heading into 2024.

The survey was released to 1200 container logistics players globally including shipping lines, container traders, freight forwarding companies, NVOCCs, shippers and procurement companies. The objective of the survey was to study the industry sentiment, key learnings from the year 2023 and outlook for the year 2024 from the players.

The survey also found investments in technology and planning are the top investment trend, with 30% of respondents saying that is where they are spending money for 2024. Real-time visibility and tracking (24%), collaboration and connectivity (27%) and process automation (18%) also appeared on the list.

“Our survey underscores a significant emphasis on technology adoption among supply chain professionals, with forecasting and planning as top of mind for our customers. The industry’s recognition of the pivotal role played by real-time visibility, collaboration, and process automation reflects a collective commitment to efficiency and strategic planning,” Roeloffs said.

The industry has faced an oversupply of containers in 2023, and the response was mixed on how carriers will address this issue in 2024. Forty-one percent said they would explore new routes or markets, but 34% said they would scrap older vessels, and 19% said slow steaming strategies would be deployed.

About the Author

Brian Straight

Brian Straight is the Editor in Chief of Supply Chain Management Review. He has covered trucking, logistics and the broader supply chain for more than 15 years. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children. He can be reached at [email protected], @TruckingTalk, on LinkedIn, or by phone at 774-440-3870.

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