Shipping Container Rates Easing

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Container shipping rates are showing signs of easing, at least temporarily. On the Shanghai-to-Los Angeles trade route, the rate for a 40-foot container fell nearly $1,000 last week to $11,173, an 8.2 percent drop from the prior week, according to Bloomberg. Ocean freight, however, remains more expensive than it was pre-pandemic, and air cargo rates remain elevated. And, as Bloomberg put it, it’s anyone’s guess if these latest declines in global shipping costs mark the beginning of a plateau, a seasonal turn lower or the start of a steeper correction. Judah Levine, of Hong Kong-based Freightos says that, among other signals, “the price drop also shows that the peak of peak season is behind us.” Regardless, shippers and ports remain in a logjam on the U.S. West coast, with 60 vessels waiting to offload over the weekend. The average wait time is 11 days or longer, compared to an eight-day wait back in April.