Empty Containers Pile At Chinese Ports Amidst Decaying Demand

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Credit: Shunya Koide/ Unsplash

Amid a “very quiet” end-of-year shipping season, empty containers are piling up at Chinese ports.

Empty Container

According to Alice Tang, China-Europe land transport planner at ITS Cargo, there has been a complete reversal of the severe equipment shortages of last year’s pandemic-induced cargo boom. “Empty containers are piling up at ports including Guangzhou, Yantian, and Shekou,” she said. “Last year, forwarders were standing in a queue for the whole night to fight for an empty container, and joking that containers were probably worth more than their weight in gold.” she added.

Ms. Tang said Q4 had been “very quiet” and rates were “so low”, compared with 2021. “We’ve been quoted $1,550 per feu from Shanghai to Gdansk, and less than $1,000 per teu for other China-Europe lanes…” 

According to Linerlytica, freight rates from the Far East to Europe, the Middle East and Africa have continued their downward spiral. The analyst added: “Carriers are pushing for a new round of general rate increases in December, but they are unlikely to succeed if surplus capacity is not removed.”

Continuing Trend

Meanwhile, Ms. Tang said congestion at European warehouses was also a challenge, explaining: “For e-commerce goods, unloading is hard as there are limited available slots in EU warehouses. They’re all full, as retailers increased stock earlier in the year because they were afraid of disruptions and delays. “But now they cannot sell it all, as consumers reduced spending on shopping this year. Even Q1 next year may not be good.”

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Source: Theloadstar

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