The CEO of the world’s fifth-largest shipping company says container shipping rates may bounce back from a sharp drop early next year, and the industry’s transition to a less profitable period is likely to continue after previous economic downturns. A “soft landing” is more likely than a setback.

The recovery may be near. Drewry’s latest spot rate for a 40-foot container between Hong Kong and Los Angeles was $1,400 this week, halting a seven-week decline. This is down from over $8,500 a year ago and below the five-year pre-pandemic average of about $1,500.

The incoming CEO of Maersk expressed cautious optimism earlier this week that any economic downturn in the US won’t last long.

US ports November activity:

  • Los Angeles: Loaded imports for November were down 24% from a year earlier; overall volume year-to-date is down 7% from last year’s record high.
  • Long Beach: Loaded imports last month dropped 28% from November 2021; overall volume YTD has fallen 0.5%
  • Savannah: Full import boxes in November decreased 7.6% versus a year earlier; overall volume YTD is up about 6%

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