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Published: August 2004      

A challenging year for container lessors

Although the container leasing industry is continuing to benefit from strong market conditions, rising container prices have brought about new challenges. New standard box prices have soared by more than 50 per cent since late 2003 and, despite some weakening in the third quarter, look set to hold at close to their current high level - at or a little below US$1900 per 20ft ex-works from most locations in China - for the foreseeable future. This compares with below US$1350 in the fourth quarter of last year and around US$2000 in the second quarter of 2004.

New container prices have been driven up mainly by rises in the cost of hot-rolled Corten steel, which has jumped by over 50 per cent in less than a year, as well as higher timber flooring and other material costs. Corten steel remains above US$600 per tonne, with a big share still being imported into China (mainly from South Korea). Plywood flooring is similarly priced at around US$600 per m3 ex-Indonesia. The cost of raw materials alone is currently calculated at more than US$1650 per 20ft, which is almost US$500 higher than a year ago....


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