The container shipping market has turned from boom to bust with seeming head-spinning speed, says The Wall Street Journal. Prices have fallen to the point where the big boxship lines are losing money on once-lucrative trans-Pacific routes, in an ominous sign for the sector as the shipping industry approaches its peak season.
Average daily freight rates from Asia to the U.S. West Coast across the Pacific are at roughly $1,500 per 40-foot container, compared with more than $14,000 a year ago, according to the Freightos Baltic Index. The Asia-to-Europe rate is at roughly $1,400, compared with nearly $11,000 last year.
Although the prices that were in freefall earlier in the spring appear to be leveling off, rates for both trade lanes are hovering around 2019 levels. With more capacity from shipbuilders on the way, shipping companies have limited leverage in what’s become a buyers’ container market.
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