Cracks are appearing in what liner operators have painted as the brightening picture of the container shipping market.

The industry got off to a good start this year but oversupply with the pending delivery of a wave of newbuildings remains a problem, according to shipbroking and sector analysts, who question whether demand will be as strong as lines are hoping.

Such concerns resulted in a sobering analysis from Nord/LB research analyst Thomas Wybierek, who suggested that Maersk Line’s prediction of a $1bn improvement in profits this year was based on container trade growth forecasts of 2% to 4%, “which for us look quite positive in the current market”.