of shipping goods from China has slumped to the lowest level in more than two
years as the world economy stumbles, dimming prospects for container carriers
that turned in record profits during the pandemic.
A 40-foot shipping box from the world’s
largest port of Shanghai to Los Angeles fetched $3,779 last week, the first
time the spot price was below $4,000 since September 2020 and half the
level of three months ago, according to Drewry.
typically the peak season for seaborne trade, global demand for Chinese goods
is waning instead as consumers cut back spending because of inflation and the
shift away from goods toward services.
Factories in Europe and the rest of
Asia are also scaling back production.
slowdown is also cutting into import demand, with companies in Asia and Europe
seeing weaker growth or declines in orders from Chinese companies.
fall in spot container rates is putting pressure on carriers that have been
pushing to sign more long-term contracts with customers as those prices soared
into early 2022. Maersk, for instance, said recently it has about 72% of its
long-haul volume on contracts.