As congestion in European ports builds, ocean rates have spiked 53 percent on the transatlantic in the past two weeks, and 8 percent from Asia to the U.S. East Coast since the Suez incident, according to freight marketplace Freightos.
Air cargo rates from Asia to the U.S. have about doubled over the past four weeks as demand remains strong and capacity tight.
- China-U.S. West Coast prices (FBX01 Daily) decreased 9 percent to $4,876/FEU. This rate is 204 percent higher than the same time last year.
- China-U.S. East Coast prices (FBX03 Daily) increased 4 percent to $6,112/FEU, and are 116 percent higher than rates for this week last year.
Releasing the Ever Given mitigated the crisis but in many ways, the damage was already done. Two weeks post the Suez blockage, global trade is beginning to feel the slow-moving hit on both the capacity and pricing fronts.
As carriers warn of imminent critical congestion at major ports like Rotterdam and Felixstowe, and resulting delays, equipment shortages and cancelled sailings, freight rates have already begun to rise on some lanes, with Asia-U.S. East Coast rates now 8 percent higher than at the time of the blockage.
Transatlantic rates have now spiked 53 percent in the past two weeks to a multi-year high of $3,357/FEU, as congestion is impacting empty container availability in Europe and carriers cancel sailings, possibly to move capacity to the directly-impacted lanes.
Estimates of how long the strongest ripples from the Suez will last range from the next three to six weeks. Either way, it will likely take months to recover completely. Of course, “back to normal” is a relative term this year, and with the recovery only in sight towards the start of peak season, observers expect no significant respite from delays and elevated rates before the end of the year.
Though Asia-U.S. West Coast rates haven’t climbed yet, congestion is still a problem with more than 20 ships now waiting outside not jU.S.t Long Beach but Oakland too. And the latest indications are that demand driving the backlog isn’t letting up. The National Retail Federation expects import volumes to be 14 percent higher this month than in April 2019 – only 10 percent lower than the all-time high in October – and to stay that way before climbing again this summer.
Strong demand is keeping air cargo rates climbing too, with Freightos.com marketplace data showing Asia-U.S. rates doubling to most destinations over the last month, and rising fuel costs a threat to additional pressure on prices.
Please note that the rates reported and compared in the weekly report are FBX’s real-time daily rates - based on current rates being used by global logistics providers - for Tuesday of each week. Weekly averages, and now daily rates, are accessible free of charge at fbx.freightos.com.