Container leasing is a vital part of the transport and logistics industry. Shipping containers are used on land and sea to store and secure the goods on their journey around the world. They can be easily secured to a flatbed trailer or rail car for transportation on land, as well as easily stacked on barges for transportation via waterways. As such, they have become one of the most important forms of transporting goods. Since their invention in 1956, their importance has grown and they have become a vital part of the transport and logistics industry. Nowadays it is estimated that there are about 17 million active shipping containers moving goods around the world, making a total of 200 million trips a year.
The container leasing industry stems from the fact that not all logistics companies choose to own the containers themselves, instead, some prefer to lease them from other providers, namely container providers. Currently about half of all containers are owned by shipping lines, whereas the other half is leased. Leasing containers grants companies great flexibility on the number of containers, as oftentimes only a minimum number is agreed upon and companies can easily get access to further containers through agreements with container leasing companies. Furthermore, by leasing containers companies can forgo maintenance costs and storing fees, which can be of great benefit to them. Given the approximate 17 million active shipping containers and half of them being provided by container leasing companies it shows what an important sector it is and how much business is centered around them. As such, there are many interesting opportunities in this sector, especially as it continues to grow and gain importance.
Within the industry, there are many container types, varying in size and product type. The most important container product types are dry containers, reefer containers, tank containers, and special containers. These can be leased over varying periods of time such as master lease, long-term lease, short-term lease and one-way lease.
Working in the container leasing industry can range from being directly involved in the logistics of the containers, managing their maintenance as well as sales and customer service.
The container leasing industry ist becoming an increasingly important and attractive sector to work in, as it has shown tremendous yet stable growth in recent years with the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) being predicted to accelerate by almost 17% between 2020-2024. As such, it offers much job stability and potential for professional development as the container leasing market continues to grow.
Professionals in the container leasing industry often have backgrounds more closely related to traditional transport and logistics careers. A common starting point is a traineeship or studies in transport and logistics, leading to an employment as a freight forwarding clerk in land, sea or air and varying specializations, such as import, export, controlling, documentation, customs et cetera.
Traditionally, professionals turn to container leasing within their career development. However, one can also enter the container leasing industry at the beginning of one’s career, especially when having focused the studies on shipping and freight forwarding either in land or sea/ocean operations. Within these two sectors it is likely that one has already gained some previous experience with containers, facilitating an easy transition to the container leasing sector.
As the container leasing industry is controlled by comparatively few companies, there is strong competition between the players. Long-term planning for business development and customer relationship management are key in the industry, as many contracts are long-term, allowing professionals in the industry to plan ahead and approach the industry with a strategic mindset.