31 May 2024


Users of container shipping services are facing a challenging period as freight rates continue to rise. Despite a temporary easing, rates are expected to spike further due to ongoing market disruptions, coupled with operational difficulties such as port congestion in Asian and European ports.

The latest data from Xeneta and Drewry reveals that container shipping spot rates are set to exceed peaks reached at the start of the Red Sea crisis, up to levels not seen since the COVID-19 pandemic. Rates from the Far East to major global destinations are projected to reach unprecedented levels by June 1, reflecting a 46% to 63% increase over the past month, reaching around $5,200 per TEU on the Asia-North Europe route. Factors driving these increases include port congestion, the readjustment of carrier schedule following the start of the Red Sea crisis, and shippers pre-emptively frontloading imports ahead of the traditional peak season in Q3.

In addition to the spot rate surge, customers of shipping lines are facing new surcharges and the prioritisation of premium-paying cargo. This mirrors challenges seen during the pandemic, with long-term contract holders facing delays and additional costs. Industry analysts indicate that while there may be some easing in rate growth, the overall trend remains upward, exacerbating difficulties for shippers and forwarders in the coming weeks.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News, the Loadstar