21 April 2023


Drewry reported this week that the composite World Container Index increased by 4% to $1,773.58 per 40ft container this week, the first increase in 15 weeks. In comparison, it has has dropped by 77% when compared with the same week last year.

The latest Drewry WCI composite index of $1,774 per 40-foot container is now 83% below the peak of $10,377 reached in September 2021. It is 34% lower than the 10-year average of $2,688, indicating a return to more normal prices, but remains 25% higher than average 2019 (pre-pandemic) rates of $1,420.

Freight rates on Shanghai – New York gained 12% or $297 to $2,849 per feu. Rates on Shanghai – Los Angeles surged 11% or $182 to settle at $1,856 per 40ft box. Rates on Shanghai – Genoa inched up by 1% to $2,268 per 40ft container.  However, rates on New York – Rotterdam fell 5% to $969 per feu. Rates on Rotterdam – Shanghai and Los Angeles – Shanghai dropped 4% each to $618 and $1,009 per 40ft box, respectively. Rates on Rotterdam – New York have now decreased for 19 consecutive weeks and saw a weekly drop of 1% to $4,881 per 40ft container.

Drewry expects East-West spot rates on routes other than the transatlantic to rise in the next few weeks, reflecting the General Rate Increases implemented by carriers from mid-April. The Loadstar notes that the spike in short-term rates, along with the tightening of capacity by carriers, could prompt BCOs to get back to the negotiating table to sign new annual contracts, effective from 1 May, rather than take their chances on the spot market – with the added risk of having their containers rolled. Asia-North Europe carriers have already set the tone by being selective in their bookings; for instance, refusing to accept low-rated heavy containers.