Here is a sneak peek of this month’s Xeneta Shipping Index (XSI®) report for the long-term contract container market. The global XSI ® increased by an additional 2.2% in October to 216.01 points representing the tenth consecutive month-on-month increase. The indices now stand at a colossal 93.1% up year-on-year, with little hope of relief on the horizon for embattled shippers. Ocean carriers remain in pole position in negotiations for long-term freight contracts, with high demand, port congestion, and supply chain disruption driving further rate increases in August. Throughout 2021, Xeneta’s global index has now recorded a hike of 90.1%. With no sign of a rate reset on the horizon, the current market is highly profitable for carriers but challenging for shippers.
“We’re not dealing with the astronomical increases we’ve experienced in past months – and indeed some trades are experiencing slight rates reductions – but overall, the arrow remains pointing resolutely skywards.”, says Patrik Berglund, CEO of Xeneta.
Uncertain Horizons Ahead For Shippers
In addition to carrier strength, lack of equipment and strong demand, port congestion remains an issue – especially in the US, where the number of container ships waiting to berth at LA and Long Beach hit over 80 earlier in October. The power crisis in China is causing additional supply chain pressure, as factories are being forced to curb production.
“Shippers want predictability,” says Berglund, “and that’s especially true when key trading periods, such as Christmas, are on the horizon. Instead, they’re getting clogged supply chains, limited (or zero) available carrier capacity, rates they can’t control, and a growing sense of uncertainty. All in all, a dream year for the carriers is an ongoing nightmare for them.”
XSI® - US Imports / Exports
US imports on the XSI ® declined by 1.5% month-on-month to 197.87 points, representing the first reported decline since March. Despite the fall, the benchmark remains 64.0% higher than the same period last year and has risen by 62.0% since Dec-20. Exports also declined in October, falling by 3.5% to 102.68. However, the index remains 15.8% higher than in Oct-20 and has increased by 15.7% since the end of last year.
XSI® - Europe Imports / Exports
European imports on the XSI ® declined by 3.7% in Oct-21 to 245.53. This is the first month-on-month fall since June. Despite the decline, the index remains up by 122.1% compared to the same period of 2020 and has risen by 120.7% since Dec-20. European exports also declined in October, falling by 2.2% month-on-month to 169.82 points. However, the benchmark is still 50.0% higher than in Oct-20 and has increased by 47.4% since the end of last year.
XSI® - Far East Imports / Exports
Far East imports on the XSI ® fell by 3.2% in October to 139.83 points. This is the second consecutive month-on-month decline and takes the index to a lower level than recorded in July. Regardless, the benchmark remains 49.9% higher than the same period of last year and has appreciated by 45.0% since the end of 2020. Developments in exports were more favorable, with the index up by 7.9% to 290.92. As a result, it is now 136.2% higher than in Oct-20 and has risen by 130.4% since Dec-20.