The rise of container shipping came to an abrupt end in 2009, when global
container throughput fell by nearly 9%.
Despite posting an impressive recovery
in 2010 and 2011 (+15% and +8% respectively), growth rates in this segment
have been slowing significantly since 2012 (see chart 24). Global container
throughput grew by just around 1% in 2015, according to the latest market
estimates and the Container Throughput Index published by RWI – Leibniz
Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and
Logistics (ISL). In historical terms, this was the slowest-ever growth in container
shipping – with the exception of during the aforementioned recession in 2009.
There are several reasons for the sluggish development in container shipping.
Western European and US demand for consumer goods made in China, for
example, has recently been growing at a slower pace than in previous years,
and has even declined at times. The economic crises in Russia and Brazil are
also weighing things down. All told, the international division of labour has
peaked, at least for the time being.
On a sector-specific note, the degree of containerisation worldwide is
now so high that this factor is hardly providing any
additional momentum for container throughput.