Freight container prices hit 3-year low, widening box manufacturer losses
Newbuild prices of freight container boxes hit a three-year low at the end of 2019, as intense competition in an oversupplied market heaped more pressure on box manufacturers.
According to Drewry’s recently published Container Equipment Insight report, prices fell across all the main container type categories in the final quarter of 2019. While this partly reflected stable to softer prices for key input materials, such as corten and stainless steel, it was mainly related to competition, overcapacity and uncertain trading prospects in the liner industry.
Dry box prices fell 6% over the quarter, while reefer container pricing remained stable. Drewry’s Dry Shipping Container Newbuild Price Index, which tracks values of new 40ft high cube containers, dropped five points in the quarter to a value of 77, representing an annual decline of 13% (see chart below). Dry box newbuild prices have fallen 27% since their last peak at the end of 2017, while reefer equipment pricing, where supply conditions have been tighter, slipped 6% over the same period.