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2023 Ocean Cargo Roundtable: Predictable Patterns Ahead?

By August 8, 2023No Comments

Ocean cargo rates remain depressed and capacity remains abundant—all factors that favor shippers. However, as inflation recedes and inventory levels head down, there’s a sense that ocean cargo flows and rate structures could return to a more typical cadence in the not-too-distant future.

Looking at the current state of the ocean cargo market in 2023 doesn’t exactly match up with how things were a year ago at this time. For one thing, the rate and contract volatility and unprecedented levels of port congestion that the market was up against last year are not really factors this year.

What’s more, as consumers continue to spend more on services rather than goods, there has been a noticeable drop-off in import levels, even though import levels are slowly gaining traction. This leaves industry observers to maintain that when demand eventually does pick up, we could be in a more normal, pre-pandemic market environment.