23 Container Leasing Industry Statistics, Trends & Analysis

Shipping containers are strong boxes, suitable for long-range storage, shipping, and handling conditions. Container leasing is an industry that is built around the short-term need for this long-range option. You’ll find containers on ocean-going vessels, on railroad cars, and even being transported by 18-wheeler on highways and roads.

There are several types of containers that are appropriate for shipping, from wooden boxes to corrugated cardboard. The container leasing industry generally focuses on metal containers that can perform in harsh conditions. They are usually guaranteed to be wind-tight and water-tight upon delivery unless the container has already reached its end of life.

The viability of the container leasing industry is directly linked to the health of the global economy. Some of the steepest losses in the industry occurred in 2007-2009, at the height of the Great Recession. Since 2010, the industry as seen some gains with an uptick in shipping, though there are still several challenges that must be faced.

Interesting Container Leasing Industry Statistics

#1. In 2016, new and used container prices fell to record lows of $1,450 per 20-foot equivalent. The average price in 2015 was $1,750, which was down 15% from the year before. (JOC)

#2. An annualized growth rate of 3.5% is anticipated through 2019, but that would still be off the trends of growth that were experienced in the past 15 years. (JOC)

#3. For deep-sea markets, the useful life of a container is between 12-15 years. After this useful life, the container is sold for static storage. Pricing for static storage containers may be as low as $700. (World Leasing Yearbook)

#4. The largest container leasing company in the world is Seaco as of 2015. They own a 15% share of the market and have almost 1.3 million units that are currently leased. (Seaco Global)

#5. In December 2015, Seaco had a container fleet of about 2.3 million TEU, 3.6 million CEU, and an NBV of $5.5 billion. (Seaco Global)

#6. The container leasing industry, from a global perspective, is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 16.12% through 2021. (Research and Markets)

#7. The industry for container leasing is highly consolidated. The top 5 providers of services for this industry currently hold a combined 85% market share globally. That leaves smaller companies a chance to obtain a niche hold within the remaining 15% of the market. (Research and Markets)

#8. In heavy-use environments, the average lifespan of a container may be as little as 7 years. (Research and Markets)

#9. In the container leasing industry, the lessor is responsible for the disposal of a container that has reached the end of its life. Pricing for disposal fluctuates and impacts lessor revenue, which tends to have a negative impact on the industry as a whole. (Research and Markets)

#10. There are three options available in the container leasing industry. One-trip containers have few dents, are guaranteed to be wind and water tight at delivery for a warrantied period and are suitable for storage. CWO containers have more damage to them, though they can still be CSC-certified for ocean-vessel shipping. WWT containers need heavy work but are still a good option for storage. (Railbox Consulting)

#11. There are an estimated 17 million shipping containers in circulation right now around the world. In total, the containers make about 200 million trips per year (Billie Box)

#12. About 97% of the modern metal shipping containers that are used by everyone in the leasing industry today are manufactured in China. (Port Technology)

#13. Every year, about 10,000 shipping containers are lost at sea. That equates to about one container being lost every hour. (Billie Box)

#14. 95% of the cargo that is moved internationally does so by a cargo ship. The high-volume ability of shipping via cargo ship, when compared to aircraft shipping, helps to keep the costs competitive for consumers. (Port Technology)

#15. The Port of Shanghai is often rated as the busiest port in the world. Over the course of the average year, workers at the port may process over 30 million TEU containers. (Port Technology)

#16. A standard TEU container utilized by the container leasing industry is large enough to contain about 3,500 shoe boxes. Containers that are constructed as a 40-foot cube can hold more than double that amount. (Port Technology)

#17. If all the shipping containers that were currently active or being used were placed end-to-end, then they would be able to go around the world twice. (Port Technology)

#18. The CSCL Globe was listed as the largest container ship in the world as of 2014. Owned by a Chinese container line, it is able to hold the equivalent of 19,100 TEU containers. (Billie Box)

#19. A standard container used by the leasing industry is able to carry a max gross weight of 30 tons, with a tare weight of 2.2 tons. The 40-foot cubes have a max gross weight of 32.5 tons and a tare weight of 3.8 tons. (Billie Box)

#20. Felixstow is rated as the largest port in the United Kingdom. It handles more than 40% of the container traffic that is headed for distribution in the UK. (Billie Box)

#21. There are several ways for containers to be recycled. Some have been turned into swimming pools. They have been used as clinics during emergency situations. Some architects have even used shipping containers to design homes. (Cleveland Containers)

#22. At any given time, there are over 50,000 container ships that are sailing on the world’s oceans. Each container is an opportunity for the leasing industry to pull revenues and serve their clients in a unique way. (Gateway Container Sales)

#23. The largest container market in the world is found in Kyrgyzstan. It was constructed from over 7,000 recycled shipping containers. (Gateway Container Sales)

Container Leasing Industry Trends and Analysis

Increasing levels of shipping activity will likely keep the container leasing industry able to maintain a status quo. Although the rates of growth that are anticipated may be difficult to reach, increases in the number of slippages could make this happen if the global economy can see sustained growth, especially in deep-sea regions.

Consolidation within the industry may give it additional strength as well. Numerous small providers often fight in a race to the bottom for leasing rates. Through mergers and acquisitions, lease pricing can begin to stabilize. In return, a better overall profit margin is possible to achieve.

As long as there is international shipping, then there will be a need for container leasing. There are challenges to face for this industry in coming years, but it looks to be positioned well for consistent growth in the near future.