Is Investing in Shipping Containers a Good Investment?

Like most any investor, I am constantly on the look-out for investment and business opportunities that provide a viable alternative to the boring, poorly performing traditional investments I have been faced with for years. Not to mention the volatility and increasing risk associated with stock markets and bonds. Those remind me of my Grandfather and Father sitting down each morning to scan the papers for upset. It seemed to me that they spent an unproductive amount of time looking for bad news. In my case, when I see a newspaper (online) each morning, I notice the pictures with people carrying and using iPhones/iPods and I wonder “how many of those are on their way to North America/Europe right now?” Why? Because, like a few of my friends who invest in containers, I get excited about what is happening in the consumer marketplace; particularly in the prospering parts of Asia. At the moment, the global shipping industry is growing exciting emerging markets and fueling a strong recovery in burdened economies.

For the most part, my approach to investing is much different than anyone in my immediate family. Among the few dozen members, we have the traditionalists, the penny-pinchers and the mattress investors. Oh, and don’t forget Mom’s cookie jar. In my experience investing you can achieve your financial goals just as quickly (or even quicker) with the well-established alternatives, that have earned investors confidence by consistently delivering great returns, while the traditional investments like stocks, bonds and real estate investments; have been endlessly struggling. In my opinion sitting around waiting for change in the stock or bond market is frustrating. I admire that the shipping industry is doing something to improve economic conditions in many parts of the world and I am proud to be a small part of it.

Shipping containers have been regarded as a good investment since their introduction to the world, more than half a century ago. However, because of their limited exposure to the investment community, few people knew about the alternative. This was because it was a well-guarded secret investment of elite investors and institutions, who used it to earn steady returns that could: 1) be reinvested to build wealth more quickly, and/or 2) used to protect themselves against some of the common risks associated with their traditional holdings. In fact, it was because of reason number two that the general investment community finally learned about shipping container investments in 2008, when the global financial crisis devastated markets in Europe and North America; and rippled through many parts of Asia. During this time, the affluent group of investors who had hoarded this strategy to themselves, were suddenly forced to uncover their secret and allow investors to carefully review this alternative; for themselves.

If not for the strength of China’s economy, the nation’s hunger for trade and the generous investment of Chinese investors, it is unlikely that the global economy would have improved as quickly as it has. China has managed to maintain very strong, enviable growth, particularly in the last half-a-decade, and has shared that prosperity through foreign investment in countries all over the world. Their strategic investments are carefully placed in vital sectors, like shipping port and infrastructure investments, that will continue to accommodate long-term economic growth. This growth can only be facilitated through the utilization of all the resources of the global shipping industry, from vessels to cargo containers. Understandably, this makes shipping containers a good investment.

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