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Ocean container prices have doubled in one year

 

According to Drewry maritime consultancy, ocean container prices have doubled in one year to a never-seen level of US$6,500 while leasing rates have similarly entered record territory.

The UK-based consultancy’s  annual container and leasing review said the price reached at the end of the second quarter was the highest since 1998.

John Fossey, Drewry’s head of container research, said that the 100 percent gain in container prices from last year is the result of shippers looking to secure enough containers for their freight and higher raw materials costs.

“Pricing has been driven by soaring demand for newbuild containers as shipping lines and lessors have been seeking to rebuild fleets in the face of chronic equipment (unavailability) due to widening disruption across the container supply chain,” Mr. Fossey said. “But also increased input costs, particularly for Corten steel and flooring materials. have also played a part. We expect dry box prices to peak in the third quarter and to soften thereafter, easing further over subsequent years as trade normalizes.”

Leasing rates for containers are expected to rise 65 percent this year, the biggest increase the consultancy has recorded.

Drewry’s composite World Container Index reached $9371 per 40-ft container this week – 370 percent above its level the same week in 2020. This is the 16th consecutive week of increases. Spot rates on Los Angeles to Shanghai and Shanghai to Rotterdam gained 5 percent and 2 percent to $1,479 and $13,628 respectively for a 40-ft box.

With prices soaring, the production of containers will likewise rise strongly this year, Drewry said. Chinese manufacturers have produced 3 million TEU of containers in the first half of 2021, more than tripling the output from the year-earlier period, Drewry said. It expects a total of 5.2 million TEU of new containers to be made this year, which would represent a 67 percent increase year on year.

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