Why shipping lines had to reposition almost 2 million containers in 2021?


The acute shortage of containers and rising demand for exports in 2021 forced shipping lines to reposition a record 1.85 million containers in the country, according to lobbying body Container Shipping Lines Association (CSLA).

Getting an empty container from the port of surplus to one with a scarcity is called repositioning of containers.

The strategy was adopted by shipping lines as shortage of shipping containers rose across the world as several container ships got stuck in ports amid the pandemic and various restrictions even as merchandise exports from India grew 105% year-on-year to $354 billion in 2021.

“Several new services were introduced between India and various trades like the US, Europe, far East, West Africa and Latin America by carriers like MSC, Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, CMA CGM, HMM, ZIM, Feedertech and others,” CSLA said in a note shared with ET.

“These helped in increasing the weekly capacity from Indian origins to these destinations by about 35,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit, or a 20-foot container) a week,” it said.

“Annualised, this works out to an increase in the vessel capacity by about 1.80 million TEUs.”

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