June 15, 2022
Will container sea-freight rates from Asia decline, remain stable, or increase in the 2nd half of this year?
There is much speculation on this matter, and nobody seems to have conclusive information; some say it will drop, yet others think it will increase. The container sea-freight from Asian ports dropped significantly in the last few months. One would hope that this trend continues. Many Asian, notably the Chinese ports, have resolved their congestion for a good part. This is expected to result in increased availability of empty containers. China is slowly reopening from a very long Covid lockdown, and many factories will resume full operation. The demand for imported items such as food, fuel, and minerals will increase fast. Furthermore, we are getting closer to the pre-Christmas sales, which always results in the highest exports from China; consequently, the demand for containers will increase noticeably.
The ‘China-Global & Shanghai Export Container Freight Index’ increased slightly in the last two weeks, which might indicate worsening rates.
Increasing fuel rates are another important factor. As far as we can see, for now, they will continue to rise for many months to come.
Who is right about the freight rate development? It remains hard to tell.
Rumours have it that various international liners intend to increase their rates later this month. I would guess we remain at these companies’ mercy; their greed seems unsatisfiable.