Ocean Carriers Rebound Trans-Pacific Shipping Prices Amidst Supply Chain Disruptions

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Credit: Tom Fisk/Pexels

The cost of shipping goods by ocean from Asia to the U.S. is turning upward as container lines try to reverse a monthslong slide in rates ahead of the busy importing season, as reported by WSJ.

Higher market price

The spot market price to ship a 40-foot container from Asia to the US West Coast has risen by 34% over the past two weeks, suggesting a potential bottoming out of pricing declines that began in 2022. Ocean carriers have imposed general rate increases of about $600 per container on the trans-Pacific trade, and shipping data suggests that customers are willing to pay higher rates on the spot market. The price rise comes as the sector approaches the traditional peak shipping season this summer.

Preparing for fall shipments 

Importers are starting to prepare for fall shipments as spot-market prices for shipping containers from Asia to the US West Coast have increased by 34% in the last two weeks. Many companies had been delaying signing shipping contracts amid uncertainty over economic conditions and declining rates. Some freight companies remain cautious about a second-half rebound due to a slow US economy and high inflation, while retailers and manufacturers have been reducing their inventories after overstocking last year.

Delayed signing contracts

Ocean carriers are raising prices on the trans-Pacific trade, and spot market prices have increased 34% over the past two weeks. This is a signal that importers may need to prepare for higher shipping rates later in the year. Many companies have been delaying signing contracts for shipping later this year, but the recent increase in prices is making some importers consider locking in prices now. Meanwhile, smaller importers tend to rely on the spot market or on contracts with third-party freight forwarders.

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Source: WSJ