OREANDA-NEWS Since the beginning of 2022, global production of standard shipping containers has collapsed by 71 percent. In the first quarter of this year, 306 thousand 20-foot cargo containers were produced in the world, while 1.06 million units were produced in the same period a year earlier, the Drewry research company estimated, the Financial Times (FT) newspaper writes.

Experts explain the dynamics by a reduction in demand for goods. In addition, the reduction in production was affected by a decrease in the volume of shipping by sea, which soared sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then fell just as sharply, which left a lot of unclaimed containers in ports. The newspaper notes that a record number of unused containers have accumulated in ports around the world and owners are having a hard time finding a place for them.

The drop in demand hit manufacturers hard — the profits of the largest players in the market more than doubled. So, in the first three months of the year, the profit of China International Marine Containers collapsed by 91 percent in annual terms, and Maersk's profit decreased by more than two-thirds. The current market situation increases the losses of container owners, The Wall Street Journal reports. Rolf Habben Jansen, head of the German transport company Hapag-Lloyd, said that compared to 2019, the company's costs increased by 25-30 percent. "In some cases, individual flights simply do not make sense, because we will lose too much money on them," he said.

At the same time, there is a significant shortage of ships in Russia — the shortage was formed due to the refusal of global container lines to cooperate with the country. Until February last year, the fleet of companies that left Russia due to the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine accounted for 80-90 percent of the total volume of container shipments. To solve this problem, the Russian authorities are going to build their own vessels at the expense of the National Welfare Fund.