Gulf and South America: Rising Container Rates, Faltering Asia-Europe/US

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Freight rates for container shipping from China to emerging markets in the Middle East and South America have been increasing, while rates on the Asia-Europe and transpacific trade routes have been experiencing a decline, as published by The Loadstar.

Reducing imports 

As US and European economies face challenges, their reduced import of consumer goods from China has prompted the country to seek alternative markets along the Belt and Road. This shift in demand has caused an increase in container shipping prices to these new regions. At the Canton Fair, exporters noted a decline in demand from US and European retailers due to global economic uncertainties. The average freight rates for routes like Shanghai-Persian Gulf and Shanghai-South America have risen significantly. In response, Chinese ports, including Qingdao, have opened new container shipping routes to emerging markets in Southeast Asia, South America, and the Middle East.

China export increases

In the first quarter of 2023, the port of Qingdao experienced a notable increase of 16.6% in container volumes, handling nearly 7 million TEU. In contrast, the Shanghai port, which primarily exports to the US and Europe, saw a decline of 6.4% in volumes during the same period. China’s exports of intermediate goods to Belt and Road member countries saw a significant year-on-year increase of 18.2% in Q1, reaching $158 billion, accounting for over half of all exports to these nations. Liner operators have been establishing services in the Middle East due to the region’s growth as manufacturing hubs and the presence of supportive ocean transport infrastructure. Furthermore, China’s Cosco Shipping Ports acquired a 25% stake in Egypt’s Sokhna New Container Terminal for $375 million in March. The terminal, which is being developed by the Egyptian government and has a capacity of 1.7 million TEU annually, grants a 30-year concession to terminal operators.


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Source: The Loadstar


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