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Liner capacity control and the future of container shipping

The world’s container liner business is now so consolidated that it can deftly match vessel capacity to cargo demand. This change — courtesy of mergers and alliances — is structural, not cyclical. If there’s a single thesis for container shipping in 2020, that is it.

Assuming it’s true, there could be major future implications for the cargo shippers, yards, box-equipment owners and ship lessors who do business with liners.

If liners can indefinitely calibrate capacity to cargo demand, the future newbuilding orderbook should be far less of a threat to liner profits and far less of a savior for shippers.

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