Spot container rates keep dropping, signaling weak peak season

LONDON – Spot container rates have now fallen five weeks in a row after six consecutive weeks of significant increases. Spot rates fell 5.2% this week to $1,479 per 40-foot container. Last week, rates fell 7%.

According to Drewry’s tracking indicator, spot rates from Shanghai to Los Angeles fell 3% to $2,104, while Shanghai to New York declined 4%. Last week, Shanghai to LA saw a 4% dip, while Shanghai to New York saw a sizable 11% decrease.

Rates are now just 4% higher than pre-pandemic average rates of $1,420.

“Container freight rates are dropping at a faster rate than expected,” wrote Linerlytica in its blog, which tracks container fleets. “Weak peak season volumes coupled with oversupply across the main markets have weighed down heavily on rates with little chance of a reversal until November at the earliest. Carriers inability to curtail supply remains the biggest challenge, as capacity utilization have weakened particularly on the U.S. East Coast and the Mediterranean, with rates on both of these routes falling sharply over the past week.”

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