Prices for new dry freight containers increased in the opening months of 2014, according to Drewry Maritime Research.
After declining gradually throughout 2013, and falling late in the year to the lowest point since 2009, the price of marine containers have "barely managed to recover 10 percent by April 2014. They presently stand at much the same level as one year ago," said the London-based consultant group, which has released the latest quarterly edition of its Container Equipment Insight report.
According to Textainer, the world's largest lessors of shipping containers, "Lease rates for new containers are positively correlated to the fluctuations in the price of new containers, which is positively correlated with the price of steel, a major component used in the manufacture of new containers. In the past five years, prices for new standard 20-foot dry freight containers have moved in a wide range, with prices experiencing increases and decreases over 50 percent during this time."
Textainer said the cost of an average new container decreased 7.5 percent during 2013.
"The outlook for container manufacturers in 2014 is not expected to be very different to last year, and thus remains relatively downbeat. Container demand is not forecast to recover much, even if the uptake in the usually busy 2Q/3Q period may yet prove stronger than in 2013. Global container equipment fleet growth is again predicted to fall short of 5 percent for 2014, with the box lease industry almost certain to account for most expansion and container carriers ordering a minority share of new containers. This has already dominated during the opening quarter, with box lessors taking the majority of new dry freight containers and an even bigger share of new reefer boxes," Drewry said.