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Good times still rollin’ for shipping lines in trans-Atlantic trade

By February 3, 2023July 28th, 2023No Comments

Europe-US rates declining, yet remain almost triple pre-pandemic levels

The rise of East Coast ports has been largely credited to the fall of West Coast ports — to shippers switching routes following the expiration of the West Coast port labor contract in July. But that’s only part of the story.

Double-digit growth in imports from Europe has been another big driver of East Coast strength.

Even after recent declines, Europe-East Coast spot rates remain almost triple pre-pandemic levels and more than triple rates in the Asia-West Coast market.

Indexes falling but still very high

Different spot rate indexes provide different numbers but generally show the same trend. The Drewry World Container Index (WCI) put Rotterdam-New York spot rates at $6,322 per forty-foot equivalent unit in the week ending Thursday, unchanged from the week before. In contrast, Drewry’s Shanghai-Los Angeles Index and its global composite are just above $2,000 per FEU, close to pre-pandemic levels.

While the WCI Rotterdam-New York index has fallen 15% from its all-time high in November, it’s still 2.6 times higher than it was in January 2020.