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Ocean Carriers in Recession. Introduction. With the difficult and loss-making container market deteriorating further, we believe losses to the carriers are inevitable this year (losses could continue into 2010). Positive near-term drivers are hard to envision since demand

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Ocean carriers in recession

Ocean Carriers




  • With the difficult and loss-making container market deteriorating

  • further, we believe losses to the carriers are inevitable this year

  • (losses could continue into 2010).

  • Positive near-term drivers are hard to envision since demand

  • remains weak, the large order book is a concern and rates likely will

  • continue to decline.

  • We believe container freight rates will rebound when they hit the bottom.

  • The question is when?

  • Can ocean carriers ensure sustainability of service in this difficult

  • economic times?

Carriers actions
Carriers Actions

  • Carriers will need strong cash flow generation to support their financial

  • leverage in a deteriorating industry environment.

  • A number of carriers have decided to trim their cost by taking steps

  • such as :

  • > consolidating routes and sailings

  • > entering vessel-sharing alliances

  • > laying up ships

  • > returning chartered ships

  • > adding ships to service strings as part of slow-steaming strategies

  • to conserve fuel

  • > laying off staff and reducing back office support functions

Ocean carriers in recession

Idle fleet as of march 17 2009
Idle Fleet as of March 17, 2009

  • 484 ships 1,410,000 TEU11.3% of world cellular fleet

  • (12,500.000 TEU worldwide)

  • 243 ships 370,000 TEU

  • are charter market ships awaiting employment

  • 241 ships 1,040,000 TEU

  • are controlled by ocean carriers (either owned or chartered)

  • Source: AXS-Alphaliner

Ocean carriers in recession

  • With revenue under pressure and excess capacity, many carriers are

  • being monitored closely by rating agency such as Standard & Poor

  • and some of them are placed on credit watch because of rapidly

  • weakening conditions in the container trades.

  • The S&P CreditWatch review and other reliable market intelligence

  • enable us to gain a better understanding of the adverse industry

  • conditions, and the likely impact of carriers’ actions on how they run

  • their business & their financial risk factors.

Ocean carriers in recession

Ocean carriers in recession

How do we as an international freight forwarder and NVOCC to evaluate “behind the scenes” the ocean carriers to ensure sustainability of service during these difficult economic times?

  • Lead by our “Central Procurement & Capacity Management” team in

  • North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and South America.

  • Weekly market assessment (global view)

  • Weekly carrier risk assessment (global view)

  • Report to Executive Board and the Area Head of Ocean Freight with

  • recommendation on possible adjustment on carrier policy and carrier

  • selection on timely manner to protect interest of our customers.

Ocean carriers in recession

  • Basic Criteria: evaluate

  • Service integrity

  • Financial stability

  • Cost Management

  • Capacity management

  • What the carrier will prioritize when things get tight

  • Insight and readiness for recovery

  • Relationship in stressful times

Ocean carriers in recession

Market Assessment (week 13) 2009 evaluate

  • The financial situation for some lines must be dramatic – resulting in some desperate commercial action.

  • The general mode of the market has not changed – spot rate offers extreme low.

  • Carrier insist rate increases for major markets.

  • Capacity cuttings show a tendency, that supply and demand will get closer.

  • Idle report : 1,410,000 TEU (as per week 12)


  • The buying market remain basically “buyer markets” – but the times for “all possible rates and validities” are over we are getting closer to the horizontal line.

  • Carrier will try to stabilize the market by increasing the spot/FAK market during the 2Q2009.

  • Full market recovery is still not expected earlier than Q3 2009 – (unless a massive carrier bankruptcy will take place).


Ocean carriers in recession

Carrier Risk Assessment (week 13) 2009 evaluate


  • Pressure on all lines remain.

  • APL has reported heavy losses

  • MAERSK LINE has announced a potential loss of 1.9 billion USD (for 2009)

  • MSC will continue to bring ALL new tonnage to service.

  • Continously re-scheduling e.g. Asia/Europe via Cape of Good Hope





  • Tactical adjustment of our carrier policy – the management is in hands of the Central Procurement Team. Joint collaboration Corporate and Area responsible.

Ocean carriers in recession

  • Key to Success: evaluate

  • Get factual update about the state of the industry, where we are, and where

  • we’re headed.

  • Learn how the economic crisis has shifted industry dynamics, what it

  • means for your business, and when to expect a turn around – from those

  • who truly know their stuff.

  • Be prepare for recovery.

Ocean carriers in recession