Container spot rates continue to fall

Spot rates for shipping containers from Asia to North America East Coast continue to fall on all key routes, except for routes connecting North America with Europe.

Rates on trunk container shipping routes from Asia have reached all-time high levels during the pandemic, amid strong demand and severe supply shortages due to the slowdown in all supply chains. Growth began in May 2020, and last autumn rates began to fall slowly and spiralled downward in February/March.

The average composite index of the WCI, assessed by Drewry, decreased by 20% in October. By the end of October, rates on most key routes were already three times lower than the levels of March 2022. Although the current index value is still higher than the level at the end of April 2020, i.e., before the start of the corona crisis.

Spot rates are already 20-30% below spring 2020 levels on all major routes connecting Asia with European consumer markets.

The cost of shipping a 40HQ container from Shanghai to Los Angeles is 2.4 thousand US dollars on average, the rates are about twice as high for return travel (before the pandemic, the difference was 6-7 times).

Shipping rates from the US to Northern Europe are 3 times higher, and from Europe to the US – 5 times higher than in April 2020.