Containerization Growth Factors
The growth of containerization mainly lies on four major factors:
- Derived. Often labeled as organic growth; an outcome of economic and income growth where
there is a growing quantity of freight in circulation. Additionally,
globalization has relied through the exploitation of comparative
advantages on a fragmentation of production that implied
a growth of the average distance over which containerized freight is being
carried. In both cases, greater containerized capacities are required.
- Substitution. Initially, substitution was the main factor
behind the growth of containerization with the gradual capture of
the break bulk cargo market. This was particularly the case for
retail goods that were the first to be containerized. Since about 90% of the break-bulk
cargo has been containerized this process is essentially completed,
leaving the possible containerization of niche markets, namely commodities
and temperature sensitive cargo (cold chain).
- Incidental. Containerized flows are almost never balanced,
implying that empty containers must be repositioned to locations
where export cargo is available. Thus, the more imbalanced the traffic
is, the more containerized capacities are required. This also leaves
opportunities to take advantage of empty back hauls and the lower
freight rates they imply.
- Induced. Global freight distribution implies a transport
chain where several modes are used to move cargo between its origin
and destination. On the maritime segment, this has led to the emergence
of intermediary hubs connecting different systems of circulation.
This requires transshipment and consequently additional containerized