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Trans-Pacific Container Freight Rates Stabilizing

09/12/2023

Despite increased trans-Pacific traffic westward to the U. S., freight rates have stabilized after increases during the second quarter.  Shanghai to Los Angeles spot rates are now at $2,254 per 40-foot equivalent unit, up 43 percent from late June.  The FBX China to North America East Coast Index was at $3,062 per 40-foot equivalent unit, up 40 percent from late June.

 

Container traffic is increasing and has reverted to seasonal pre-COVID (August 2019) levels.  In August 2013, 2.2 million 20-foot equivalent units were imported, up 0.4 percent from July and 5.5 percent from June.

 

Drought-related restrictions imposed on traffic through the Panama Canal do not appear to delay transit.  Delays for eastern Gulf Coast ports did not increase in August, averaging 5.7 days, down 4.7 percent from July. A spokesman noted, “Conditions through the Panama Canal have had little impact on retail supply chains, and it is unlikely to be a problem as we head into the peak shipping season.”

 

It is indeed fortunate that the operators of West coast ports have reached agreement with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union for a five-year contract that will ensure continuity of operations

 

Westbound trans-Pacific container volume is important to maintain an adequate supply of returnable containers for eastbound shipments of U. S. agricultural products including broiler and turkey meat and eggs.