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DHL: Ocean freight rate moving towards manageable levels

The DHL Ocean Freight Market Update report is now available. Below are highlights of the latest developments of the global ocean freight market in this monthly analysis by DHL Global Forwarding.

A muted peak shipping season in 2022 has prompted a downward shift for freight rate levels as effective vessel supply increases, demand into some key import markets slows. “This year, we did not see the normal rush for space ahead of Golden Week when factories close in China,” said Kelvin Leung, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific.

Easing bottlenecks – According to maritime analysis firm Sea-Intelligence, 50 percent of the global port congestion that was tying up vessels at ports in January had been cleared by August. The release of this extra capacity has relieved physical shortages of capacity and added to downward pressure on spot freight rates which have been in decline on the major East-West trades since the second quarter.

“We’ve seen an easing of port congestion, although labour strikes at ports in the U.K. are causing some disruption and we’re still seeing vessel queues on the U.S. east coast which has offset improvements at U.S. west coast ports,” said Leung.

Demand outlook – The demand side outlook continues to weaken on war risk, skyrocketing energy costs, political instability and general inflation, all of which are now impacting overall consumer spending and thus trade volumes. The combination of a manufacturing sector in recession, and rising inflationary pressures would add further to concerns about the outlook for the eurozone economy.

Meanwhile, the closure of factories during China’s October Golden Week holiday along with the Chinese government’s continuing zero Covid-19 policy have impacted production, reducing demand for shipping capacity. Drewry has now lowered its global container handling demand outlook for 2022 and 2023 to 1.5 percent, and to 1.9 percent, respectively, on the back of heavily downgraded GDP predictions.

Service reliability – The more favourable supply-demand balance for shipping’s customers has led to a global schedule reliability improvement of 5.8 percentage points in August compared to July, while the average delay for late vessel arrivals also dropped sharply, according to Sea-Intelligence.

The DHL Ocean Freight Market Update is a monthly report by DHL Global Forwarding which tracks and analyses the latest developments of the global ocean freight market.
Source: DHL

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