ISO Shipping Containers Market Players have Resorted to Mergers & Acquisitions as their Key Growth Strategy

Published On: February 2018

ISO Shipping Containers: Market Introduction

ISO Shipping Containers are large shipping containers, made of various grades of steel, and built for freight transport. These are manufactured with identical size specifications that are governed by ISO. The typical sizes of these containers remain 10’, 20’ and 40’ across types such as standard dry containers and refrigerated containers. Growing adoption of shipping containers in seaborne trade has pushed the demand for the shipping containers globally. The international trade, the bulk transport of raw materials, and the import/export of food and manufactured goods are essential in any economy. The international shipping industry is responsible for carrying out around 90% of world trade. The demand for these containers have increased in last many years because of this.

With growing demand for international commodities such as agricultural commodities, crude oil, metals, and others, ISO shipping containers market has gained momentum in last many years. With increase in disposable income, there is a change in the buying patterns, among the population, which varies across regions. This has resulted in high demand of basic commodities such as metal, minerals, and oil & gas, which are utilized ultimately to manufacture consumer and other segment of products. This has expanded the international trade of such commodities, between countries, and in turn has driven the shipping container markets.

China has witnessed expanding manufacturing capabilities when it comes to shipping containers. Small and medium scale players have emerged in the last decade, making the market, fragmented in the country. In fact the global brands such as Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, Evergreen, OOCL, Cronos, Hyundai, and Hamburg, have established their manufacturing base in China to take advantage of the low costs due to availability of labor and low material costs. This has led to the emergence of China as a market leader in  manufacturing of such containers.

Mergers & Acquisitions in the ISO shipping containers market: Key strategy

The ISO shipping container market is highly driven by the mergers and acquisitions between major players and among the medium sized players in the global market. Some of the companies have adopted mergers & acquisitions, as the key growth strategy. They are CIMC, SINGAMAS, CXIC Group, Shanghai Universal Logistics Equipment, Maersk Container Industry A/S, Charleston Marine Containers, Inc., Sea Box Inc., Hoover Container Solutions Inc., Hapag-Lloyd, and Evergreen Marine Corporation.

CIMC sees it key strategy in capitalizing on the growing demand for greener, safer and more transparent business solutions. To be more competitive in the global maritime industry, CIMC has re-sized and restructured its maritime business area to improve efficiency while retaining core competencies. In line with this, merging and acquiring other players, along with various collaborations and partnerships, have helped the company establish itself as a market leader in China.

On the other hand, Sea Box Inc. expanded in the 1980s by entering a partnership with the U.S military and starting a domestic container storage and leasing business. The company believes in strategic partnerships and collaborations, across the supply chain to maintain its position in the market. Similarly, Hoover Container Solutions Inc. sees its strategy in expanding its current business portfolio so as to gain a larger market share in containers segment through mergers & acquisitions.

The prime strategic objective of the Hapag-Lloyd group is to achieve long-term profitable growth measured on the basis of developments in the transport volume, and the key performance indicators of EBITDA and EBIT. Hapag-Lloyd believes in gaining a larger market share in transportation sector through planned expansion, based on global economic conditions. Hapag-Lloyd sees emerging economic regions such as Latin America, Asia and Africa as their key market, owing to rising consumption-related demand, and growing industrialization. The expansion takes place through strategic developments such as mergers & acquisitions. However, Maersk Container Industry A/S is driven by the urge to constantly improve performance and efficiency of their product portfolio. It has taken up product development and R&D, as major strategy to grow.

Tapping the new opportunities

China has emerged a major manufacturing base for shipping containers, globally. Big players are seen setting up their manufacturing facilities in China to take advantage of the low cost labor and raw material prices. Furthermore, the country has also witnessed increasing investment to expand its ports and shipping capabilities. This makes China an important market for shipping industry, including shipping containers. The supportive policies and favorable environment in China along with its expanding industrial capabilities, have enabled the global market growth. This would induce the demand for shipping container on a global scale. Various initiatives such as China's Belt and Road Initiative, have driven investment across various ports in Southeast Asia, including countries such as Myanmar and Malaysia. This is expected to improve the current scenario of the shipping ports in the region. There has been an oversupply of container ships against the global growth of seaborne trade. This oversupply is seen in light of China's increasing import demand. The imports in China, are expected to increase in the future.

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