Welcome to the March 2021 edition of the Xeneta Shipping Index (XSI®) for the contract container market. The global XSI increased by a further 2.2% in March, consolidating gains of 9.6% in February and 5.9% in January. Container ship operators are currently commanding rates that have climbed by 18.6% since the start of the year (up 17.1% against March 2020).
With continued high demand exacerbated by coronavirus, port congestion and a lack of equipment, shippers are being forced to navigate an increasingly daunting rate landscape, while carriers, notes Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund, are “enjoying their moment in the sun.”
He comments: “It really is an extraordinary time for an industry that has faced some very difficult years recently, constantly juggling capacity and demand while fighting one another for market share. Now, it seems, the carrier community is being dealt winning hand after winning hand, and the financial ramifications of this red-hot streak are there for all to see.”
XSI® - US Imports / Exports
While US imports on the XSI® fell by 1.7% month-on-month to 129.49 points, it remains up 4.8% compared to Mar-20. Similarly, the index is 6.0% higher than at the end of 2020. Meanwhile, exports declined by 7.3% in Mar-21 to 90.75, thereby reversing a large proportion of the increase reported in the previous month. Although the index has risen by 2.2% since Dec-20 it is now down 7.0% year-on-year.
XSI® - Europe Imports / Exports
European imports on the XSI ® rose by a further 7.3% in Mar-21 to 155.93 points. Compared to the same period of 2020, the benchmark is up 31.2% and has risen by 40.2% since the end of last year.
XSI® - Far East Imports / Exports
Far East imports on the XSI® fell by 9.1% to 116.08 in Mar-21, thereby partially reversing some of the gains reported in the previous month. Despite the month-on-month decline, the index remains up 13.8% compared to the equivalent period of 2020 and has risen by 20.4% since Dec-20.