Coming as a surprise to many, the worldwide demand for 40-foot high-cube shipping containers is steadily growing. Drewry’s Container Insight reported that the proportion of 40-ft high-cube (9ft 6in high) containers in the global maritime container fleet is expected to exceed 50 per cent by the end of 2013. According to the Drewry 2013 Container Census, the 40-foot high-cube shipping containers’ market share reached 49 per cent in 2012, and is expected to grow by at least another 1 per cent more in 2013.
Drewry noted that the number of high cube containers in the fleet grew by another 8 per cent last year, up to 15.4 million TEUs. This increase in demand has taken the rise in demand up to a remarkable 49 per cent, between 2007 and 2012. This meant that the 40-ft high cube’s share of the total maritime equipment market increased from 41 per cent up to 49 per cent or just over 1 per cent per annum. On the other hand, the demand for 20 foot containers remained constant at approximately 33 per cent.
The Drewry report also noted that (in their opinion) containerized cargo growth measured in TEU, has increasingly been underestimated over time. It has been suggested that this is because, even though it is approximately 13 per cent bigger, a 40 foot HC container usually only counts as two TEU; the same as 2 x 20ft (8ft 6in) boxes or 1 x 40ft (8ft 6in) container. Thus, the report concluded that measuring trade growth purely in TEU terms, should only be regarded as an approximation of over-all traffic figures for the international shipping industry.