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Xeneta Shipping Index (XSI®) Contract Market: May 2021

May 2021 Xeneta Shipping Index for the long-term contract market increases, +33.5% YoY. Capacity crunch, continuing high demand and reduced retail inventories mark no immediate relief for shippers.

Welcome to the May 2021 edition of the Xeneta Shipping Index (XSI®) for the long-term contract container market. The global XSI ® shot up by a further 9.0% in May-21 to 152.87 points. This month-on-month increase is the third largest on record and takes the total increase since the end of 2020 to 34.5%. The benchmark is also now 33.5% higher than the equivalent period of last year.

“After years of fluctuating fortunes, the carriers are determined to seize on current opportunity, maneuvering to exploit huge consumer demand and increased online retail with new strategic moves. For example, Hapag-Lloyd now plans to implement a USD 3000 FEU GRI on Far East-US trades from mid-June and, with fundamentals so much in their favor, there’s a good chance they’ll achieve some level of implementation,” comments Patrik Berglund, CEO at Xeneta. 

The shippers, Berglund adds, are, quite literally, paying a heavy price for this success.

“With carriers blanking sailings to manage capacity, added to continuing high demand and reduced retail inventories, it’s difficult to see the prospect of any immediate rates relief on the horizon. Of course, as we know only too well after a rollercoaster year, things can change overnight, so it pays to keep an eye on the latest intelligence – and that relates to everyone – in the bid to achieve optimal value in future negotiations.”

In addition, Xeneta also cautions that the short-term market XSI® is now showing increases on trans-Atlantic and other trade lanes, suggesting further long-term rates pain for shippers may lie ahead.


XSI® - US Imports / Exports 

US imports on the XSI ® rose by 13.3% in May-21 to 151.97 points. This represents the single largest month-on-month increase in the index since May-19. As a result, the benchmark is now up 19.4% year-on-year and has increased by 24.4% since Dec-20. US exports also appreciated this month, rising by 2.9% to 96.50. The benchmark is now 0.4% higher than the same period of 2020 and is up 8.7% since the end of last year.

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XSI® - Europe Imports / Exports 

European imports on the XSI ® rose yet again in May-21, increasing by 3.9% month-on-month to 170.81. The benchmark is up 51.6% year-on-year and has risen by 53.5% since Dec-20. Meanwhile, European exports jumped by 8.6% this month to 140.15 points. Compared to the same period last year the index is up 15.5% and has risen by 21.7% since Dec-20.


 XSI® - Far East Imports / Exports 

Far East imports on the XSI ® jumped by 13.8% in May-21 to 132.38 points. The substantial month-on-month increase takes the benchmark to its highest level since Dec-17. It also means it is up 26.7% compared to the same period of last year and has risen by 37.3% since Dec-20. Far East exports benchmark rose by a further 12.2% in May-21 to 197.55 points. This latest increase ensures the index is up 63.7% year-on-year and has increased by 56.4% since the end of 2020.

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