Elevated spot rates and tight supply could be set to continue for the next two years, according to maritime consultant Drewry’s most recent Container Shipping Outlook webinar.
This follows last week’s news that, after five consecutive weeks of increases, the SCFI breached the 3,000 point mark for the first time since its launch in October 2009. Despite already high freight rates, strong demand for cargo and the container shortage are continuing to press the market upward.
Shippers are also preparing for GRI increases in June across multiple trades as carriers gear up for peak season.
Drewry has predicted that average rates this year, which combine spot, contract, backhaul and regional rates, will increase by 23%. For some headhaul routes, this will be significantly higher.
Looking ahead, senior manager for container research Simon Heaney said: “For next year, while rates will come down, they will be substantially higher [than pre-pandemic] and we expect rates will come down from this year’s lofty highs by approximately 9%.”
Deliveries of newbuilds across 2021 and 2022 are low enough to mean that overall fleet growth will come in substantially lower than demand growth.
However, at the beginning of this year, carriers and non-operating owners signed contracts for around 170 newbuilds (a capacity of approx. 1.9m TEU). The majority of these ships will be delivered in 2023 – the light at the end of the tunnel.
In two years’ time, supply-demand scales could tip back in shippers’ favour.
With high freight rates and tight capacity set to continue long-term, it’s more important than ever for you to apply a robust forecasting plan for the rest of 2021 and prioritise your inventory accordingly. Get in touch with our experts today to discuss the support our Customer teams can provide.