The Drewry’s World Container Index (WCI) has fallen to US$1,791 on March 16, 2023, marking its 50th consecutive week of declines over the past year.
Rates have decreased on all shipping routes, including the transatlantic route, which has fallen to a 20-month low after reaching a high in Q4 2022. While rates on the Shanghai-Rotterdam route have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, other rates remain at mid-2020 levels. Currently, the WCI trades at a concerning 47% of the five-year moving average of US$3,781.
There are some indications that the fall in rates may be coming to an end, with the Container Pricing Sentiment Index suggesting a possible slowdown in March based on survey trends from February.
However, this has not yet translated into prices, which are still declining at a slow pace. While Chinese manufacturing data suggests a slow pickup in output, there are concerns that over 80 new container vessels set to launch in the next nine months could further increase supply and resist price increases.