779 containers lost at sea in 2019, says World Shipping Council

The global container shipping industry is experiencing a declining trend in the number of containers lost at sea each year says the World Shipping Council (WSC) which released an update to its survey that provides the industry with estimates on the number of containers lost.

In 2019, the international liner shipping industry transported approximately 226 million containers, with cargo transported valued at more than $4 trillion. There are more than 6,000 ships carrying containers around the world at any point in time.

WSC undertook the first survey of its member companies in 2011, with updates published in 2014, 2017 and 2020. Taking a long view, the WSC estimates there is an average 1,382 containers lost at sea each year.

It concludes that after twelve years, more than half of all containers lost at sea can be attributed to to the limited number of major events, such as the losses of the MOL Comfort (4,293 containers lost), MV Rena (~900 containers lost) and SS El Faro (517 containers lost).

For the 3-year period ending in 2019, the average number of containers lost annually fell to 779, mainly due to fewer major incidents.

“The industry is encouraged by the declining trend line indicated in the latest report and continues to work on solutions that will bring the number of containers lost at sea each year to as close to zero as possible,” John Butler, WSC President and CEO told gCaptain. “The report also outlines a number of initiatives the industry is pursuing to improve container safety and further reduce the number of containers lost.”

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