Liner shipping projected to make $43.2 billion in profit in 2023

A normally reliable source of financial forecasts for containers has called the fortunes of liner shipping in 2023, suggesting this year could be the third-best combined annual result in the sector’s history.

John McCown, whose quarterly earnings reports for Blue Alpha Capital’s liner shipping industry have become essential reading during record box office earnings since 2020, has forecast liner shipping to post combined net income of 43.2 billion this year 80% off last year’s record earnings, it would still prove to be another sensational year of earnings and help explain airlines’ continued accumulation of tonnage through the first three months of 2023.

“I suspect many will think my number is too high, and few will think it’s too low,” McCown said in his latest earnings report.

The liner shipping earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) achieved in the three years – 2020, 2021 and 2022 – are higher than the combined profits of the previous 63-year history of container shipping, according to analysis by Sea-Intelligence.

Analysts remain divided on the profitability of the liners in 2023, a year that has begun with many gloomy headlines.

British consultants Drewry estimated in syringesThe annual container forecast report released earlier in the year said the sector would post $15 billion in profit this year.

Interest rates are showing signs of stabilizing, according to an analysis by investment bank Jefferies. The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) rose week-on-week on Friday to 923 from 908, the biggest nominal increase since June 2022, and the 1.7% rise is the biggest since December 2021.

The China Containerized Freight Index (CCFI), which includes spot and contracts, fell 1.9% last week, bringing its year-to-date decline to 24.6%.

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