The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted demand in many countries from services to consumer goods - and these are often produced in Asia. The resulting increase in demand for container transport has led to significantly higher freight rates, especially in the spot market, while pushing global supply chains to their capacity limits. In addition, a COVID 19-related shortage of skilled workers led to work stoppages in many places, both in ports and terminals as well as in hinterland transport operations for shipments by rail or road. As a consequence, the service quality of the liner shipping companies was also under strong pressure.
As it is our clear aim to be your "number one for quality", we are continuously working on new products and solutions. For example, since last year we have been offering multi-year contracts at fixed rates. The rate for our new "Quality Freight Product" (QFP) is fixed during the contract period and market fluctuations are avoided. In addition, the cargo is protected from rolling off the originally booked vessel. Furthermore, overbookings of up to 10 per cent are possible to ensure the utilisation of the allocation agreed with each QFP customer.
Furthermore, we have invested significantly in modern container ships as well as in containers. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have added more than 600,000 TEU of new boxes to our fleet. In addition, new vessels have been ordered, most of which will be delivered in the next two years. These include twelve 23,500+ TEU vessels and ten 13,000 TEU vessels, which will expand our transport capacity by more than 400,000 TEU over the next few years.
Such capacity additions are important because demand for container transport is expected to remain robust in the coming years. At the same time, it can be assumed that the scrapping of older ships will tend to increase in the coming years - this is also due in particular to stricter environmental regulations and higher efficiency requirements in ship operation.
Further details on the market environment can be found in these PDF slides.