When Will High Shipping Rates Ease?

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Global port congestion is set to continue until at least early 2023 and keep spot freight rates elevated, logistics executives said on Wednesday (June 15), urging charterers to switch to long-term contracts to manage shipping costs, reports The Straits Times.

Current congestions

The Covid-19 outbreak has lengthened ship delivery times since 2020, pushing up freight costs, while the Russia-Ukraine conflict and lockdowns in Shanghai have added to supply chain disruptions this year.

“We believe the current congestions, not only the ports but also the landside infrastructure, will be there at least till Q1 2023,” said Mr Peter Sundara, head of global ocean freight product for the global logistics division at Visy Industries.

While more vessels could be added to the global fleet next year, this does not mean that freight rates will drop broadly as it depends on how ship carriers allocate increased vessel capacities, he told the S&P Global Platts Bunker and Shipping Summit.

Mr Eric Jin, head of investment support at industrial equipment supplier BMT Asia-Pacific, said rising shipping costs, longer transit times and higher uncertainty will be the “new normal” for the shipping industry.

Charter rates

Spot chartering rates have held firm so far this year, with supply chain disruptions and port congestion affecting ships globally, particularly in the United States and China.

The executives recommended charterers sign longer-term contracts with shipowners to overcome issues of volatile cost and availability.

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