Alternative Flooring

COA publishes 2016 "Report on Alternative Materials for Container Floors"

The COA’s latest “Report on Alternative Materials for Container Floorboards” has been published and is available for COA Members to download from the COA website. The report confirms that 2015 proved to be another challenging year for the container industry.  The volume of dry container production in the first half was similar to that of the first half of 2014 - but with leasing companies experiencing reduced demand, stocks of new containers awaiting lease-out built up in the factories, so that the second half of 2015 saw a big drop in production.  As a result, the total production of dry freight containers for the year was 2,520,430TEU (compared to 3,135,860TEU in 2014).  
Bamboo remains the only volume alternative to tropical hardwood plywood.  Bamboo floor production increased by 43% in 2015 compared to 2014, leading to bamboo floors taking 58% overall market share of the production of dry boxes, a big step up from the market share of 33% held in 2014. It is estimated that some 1,442,000 TEU of the 2.5 million TEU produced last year were manufactured with bamboo floors.
The Report continues: “Whilst the market is still open to the use of alternative materials to tropical hardwood plywood for container floors, it is clear that bamboo, in all its forms, is currently the alternative material of choice.   Bamboo apparently offers the best compromise of strength, price and quality at the moment and given the price pressures that remain on the container industry, we expect that the market share of bamboo floors will increase again in 2016.”
As for other alternatives, such as steel, steel/plastic and the composite OSB hybrid, the Report forecasts that there will be still some production - but volumes will be limited until it becomes clear whether sufficient buyers will order enough of these materials to justify volume production.  New alternative materials may still emerge but the current market with low production volumes and sustained pressure on pricing does not offer an attractive environment for newcomers with new ideas.
To download the Report, click on the link on the right of the page