All in all, the supply chains were clearly under strain seen from a shipper's perspective. From a carrier's perspective, 2021 will be the most profitable year ever outmatching all previous years. On this backdrop what should we expect for 2022? Rather than waffle on with a ton of statistics, which might create more confusion than clarity, let me lean out and make some very clear and concise predictions for what we are likely to see unfold in 2022 – although at a somewhat generalised level. Freight rates will increase up to the Chinese New Year, but will then start a downward trend. The development is likely to be erratic with unpredictable spikes linked to short-term capacity problems, and by the end of 2022, levels will be lower than today, but we will not be back to pre-pandemic levels. Schedule reliability will slowly improve. We will not be back to the global average norm of 70-80%, but it is likely that reliability will reach the range of 50-60%, with better performance on some routes. We will see a large number of acquisitions in the logistics market. Both forwarders and carriers as well as some terminal operators will go on a buying binge and set the stage for further consolidation in the market. There is a high risk of another shut-down of a major Chinese port in the first part of 2022. The situation of shortage of empty containers will be resolved, and by the end of 2022 we will have a global oversupply of empty containers. The container vessel fleet will grow approximately 4% on the basis of vessel orders placed before the pandemic. All new vessels ordered in 2021 will not be delivered until 2023 and 2024. This fleet growth will roughly match the global demand as the most recent global GDP outlook from the OECD expects a growth of 4.5% in 2022. We will see an increase in the amount of multi-year contracts signed by large shippers. These contracts will tend to include clauses accommodating rate adjustments in case the prevailing rate levels change dramatically. At global level, we will see at least one carrier and several forwarders be targeted by cyber attacks. This will not differ materially from what has happened over the past few years in a world in which the risk of such events is increasing. As supply chains slowly normalise, we will see pockets of the economy in which oversized inventories become a problem. We will see multiple fires on container vessels. Unfortunately, statistics point to such an event roughly every two weeks. This information simply serves to highlight the importance of taking out freight insurance, if not for the sake of one's own cargo, then at least to protect against the liability arising in case of general average. We will also see anti-trust probes launched in certain places against carriers. The anti-trust probes will eventually not lead anywhere as the current market extremes are driven by supply and demand caused by pandemic-induced bottlenecks. However, the political pressure from frustrated shippers on regulatory authorities to 'do something' about the current situation will lead to some probes being launched.
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