Container lines will no doubt be looking to force rates up in 2012, as operators face a year of losses in 2011 on the back of sustained declines in rates on the major trade routes, brought about by overcapacity. BMI warns that carriers will face an uphill struggle in 2012, as overcapacity is set to remain an issue and could become more acute with the slowing global growth outlook. In Lines To Enter 2012 In The Red we explore the how lines will react to the likelihood of losses in 2011, and highlight the fact that while we do not expect the depth of downturn that was experienced in 2009, the environment is looking similar. In Overcapacity To Plague Mid Term, Beware 2013 we investigate the options available to shipping lines to combat overcapacity. We warn of the threat the sector faces in 2013 with the influx of newbuilds, many of which are mega vessels, including the largest container ships ever launched (Maersk’s Triple-E fleet), and the impact this will have on the market if demand has not picked up sufficiently. ETR Short- And Long-Term Benefits To Woo Carrier Expansion analyses how the strategy of diversifying into emerging trade routes (ETRs) will offer a safe haven for lines, as growth continues to tick up. ETRs are not as affected by the decline in rates as oversaturated developed routes. However, while offering aid to the beleaguered container sector, they will not be the industry’s saviour in the medium term, as volumes shipped on these routes are not great enough to carry the sector. Looking ahead, as trade dynamics shift and volumes on ETRs pick up, their role will increase and lines currently expanding their ETR coverage will be the first to benefit. However, the development of ETRs hinges on a major factor: the development of ports that will be calls on ETRs. Further investment is needed, not only to cater for projected volumes, but to woo lines into calling in the first place. As well as analysing the outlook for the container shipping sector, we investigate how the tough box shipping environment and slowing economic growth will affect two sectors with strong links to the container shipping sector: port operators and container manufacturers. In Port Operators To Face Tougher 2012 As Box Volumes Slow we highlight the fact that port operators have been relatively sheltered from the tough operating environment faced by their container line clients. However, the slowdown in growth and the likelihood that box lines will seek rebates or rate declines will be of concern to terminal operators. While BMI expects container volume growth to slow, and perhaps even start to decline year-on-year (y-o-y), we do not expect volumes to fall to 2009 downturn levels. However, a slowdown, coupled with container lines pushing for cheaper rates, does threaten port operators’ bottom lines and highlights how tied they are to the fortunes of the container shipping sector. In Container Curse To Hit Box Manufacturers, But Outlook Is Strong we investigate the impact on container manufacturers. Like global terminal operators, container manufacturers’ clients are the major container lines, and it stands to reason that they too will be affected as clients struggle in the current operating environment. However, BMI argues that while container manufacturers face an uncertain outlook in the short term, of all the sectors associated with container shipping this is the segment has the strongest outlook.