Shipping Container Costs Have Dropped 50%-60% From COVID-era Peak

September 12, 2022 by Dave Haynes

I don’t write much about shipping container costs because I know very little about that whole thing, but I do know those costs skyrocketed through the pandemic, and that affected prices for large items like displays. Which brings me to the good news, I think, that costs are dropping in a big way.

A publication that would know about this sort of thing – Marine Insights – says Ocean Shipping Rates Plunged 60% In 2022.

Part of the good news here is that this is happening in peak shipping season – with all kinds of stuff coming over for the Q4 holiday shopping binge. So this period, in theory, is higher demand and higher cost.

Marine Insight reports:

The cost incurred to ship a 40-foot container to the West Coast in the US from China is now about $5,400 per box, a drop of 60% from January 2022, per Freightos Baltic Index. Each container shipped to Europe from Asia now costs $9,000, which is about 42% lower than observed early in 2022. At the same time, above pre-pandemic levels, the rate for both routes peaked at over $20,000 in September 2021.

Market conditions have made a sharp reversal from earlier in the pandemic. Freight rates jumped almost 10-fold during the previous year owing to port backlogs, surges in cargo, and supply chain disruptions. As a result, importers were found scrambling for space on the box ships. Retailers like Walmart -1.10%▼ chartered personal vessels to overcome the bottlenecks in 2021.


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