Textainer, a global lessor of freight containers, increased its fleet size year-on-year by seven per cent at the end of the second quarter to 3.1m teu, and saw utilisation level increase by two percentage points to 95.6 per cent.
With equipment demand continuing strongly into the peak season, Textainer’s interim report is a useful barometer of the underlying state of health of the container industry.
Textainer president and chief executive officer Phillip Brewer said the firm had seen a “strong increase in container demand from container lines, which he expected to continue through the third quarter.
Moreover, Brewer said, demand was still “accelerating” and discussions with ocean carriers revealed they were experiencing a “true peak season”, on the back of 8 per cent cargo growth from Asia to Europe and 4 per cent from Asia to the US, for the first time since 2010.
Brewer noted that this healthy expansion was double that predicted by carriers at the beginning of the year, and he forecast that the boom would last at least until October.
Nevertheless, in common with its deepsea customers, Textainer has so far been unable to convert strong demand and high utilisation levels into higher leasing rates. It says they “remain under pressure”.
New containers are selling at around US$2,000, close to the cost of production and “close to the bottom”, but with labour costs spiralling in China, Brewer said he expected new build rates would ultimately climb.