Dropping freight rates offer some relief for summer shippers

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Ocean and airfreight rates have seen declines in the past few weeks according to data from the Freightos.com network.

Ocean rates continued to slide this week, but prices for container ship charters and secondhand sales, along with increased scheduled capacity through October, suggest carriers do not expect a collapse in volumes. Asia-US West Coast prices fell six percent to US$6,593/FEU. This rate is 64 percent lower than the same time last year. Asia-US East Coast prices increased four percent to $10,316/FEU, and are 47 percent lower than rates for this week last year.

Asia-Northern Europe prices dipped seven percent in the last two weeks and are 30 percent lower than last year, after being stable since the end of April.

Despite the falling prices, there are signs that ocean carriers don’t view this trend as the start of a complete collapse, said Judah Levine, Freightos’s head of research in an analysis. “Continued elevated rates for secondhand and chartered container ships show ocean carriers are still looking for capacity. Carriers have also scheduled 20 percent more transpacific capacity through October compared to last year.”

China-US West Coast prices have fallen 15 percent in the last month in what is typically a slow season for transpacific air, though rates are still about twice the pre-pandemic norm.

With the return of transatlantic passenger travel the Freightos Air Index shows Europe-US East Coast prices are 28 percent lower than a year ago, but still about 50 percent higher than normal due to added fuel costs and labour shortages.