Consolidation has brought liners ‘unprecedented’ levels of rate stability

Analysts used the global rate index measured monthly by Container Trade Statistics (CTS), with the data series being available from January 2009 to June 2019 to study rate fluctuations.

The study shows that volatility reached a stable level from early 2017 onwards with Sea Intelligence saying in their Sunday Spotlight report that there is “a clear correlation between the reduction in global rate volatility and the degree of market consolidation”.

“In essence, this is exactly the type of development one would expect in any industry which undergoes a transformation from a high degree of fragmentation in a price-sensitive competitive environment, to a state resembling an oligopoly, where competition will increasingly shift to other parameters,” Sea Intelligence staff noted.

However, the analysts did point out at the end of their report that wile the study pertains to the global average development, individual trade lanes can still exhibit above average volatility, as capacity is shifted between trades.