XENETA: SOME EUROPEAN CONTAINER ROUTES YET TO NORMALISE
As reported in SeaTrade Maritime News and Hellenic Shipping News, shipping consultancy Xeneta highlighted this week that while most freight rates have plummeted from the peak prices of 2021 and 2022, some trade lanes are still capable of commanding prices far above pre-pandemic levels, with recent long-term contracts on selected corridors over 100% more expensive than 2019 equivalents.
‘All arrows are pointing down, with dramatic falls across the board,’ says Peter Sand, Chief Analyst, Xeneta, when referring to prices on the five main European export trades (to the Mediterranean, Far East, Middle East, US East Coast, and South American East Coast). ‘The biggest lanes are also the biggest losers, with the Far East corridor down 69% year-on-year. Spot prices for the trade are now just under USD 600 per FEU, equivalent to 18% below the pre-pandemic average of 2019.’
However, according to Xeneta research, long term rates on the transatlantic trade from Europe to the US East Coast were up 144% on 2019 levels as of early May 2023, while the trade to the South American East Coast was up 111%. ‘In fact, the only trade with long-term rates significantly below 2019 levels is the shortest of them all, to the Mediterranean. Here we see rates down 38% since 2019 (and 59% since their peak in mid-August 2021), with current prices at $524 per feu,’ emphasised Mr Sand.
Xeneta said that long-term export contract developments in Europe were 'equally depressing for carriers’, falling over the past three months by 45% compared to peak levels; declines ranged between 26% on the Middle East bound trade, to 59% on the short haul Mediterranean route. Some routes are yet to fully reflect the collapse of spot rates in longer term contracts. ‘So, the question arises, does this point to relative strength, or the capacity for further heavy falls in the months to come?’ asked Sand.