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Congestion slows rate drops – especially on Asia-US East Coast lanes

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Dylan Sommer

Weekly highlights

Ocean spot rates continued their decline on lanes out of Asia this week, but port congestion on the US East Coast and at many major European hubs may be slowing the speed of the rate fall despite falling volumes.

Overall, congestion has improved since July with the number of vessels dropping from more than 150 to less than 100 this week. But pre-pandemic that number was in the single digits. Currently, three-quarters of these are waiting along the East Coast or Gulf, with only six off LA/Long Beach.  

This shift in congestion is a result of the significant shift of volumes from west to east as shippers sought to avoid a repeat of last year’s west coast delays and steer clear of west coast labor disputes.

While volumes have decreased and Asia – US East Coast rates have declined 67% since April, they remain 111% higher than in 2019. By comparison, as congestion has eased and more capacity becomes available on the West Coast, Asia – US West Coast prices have fallen 84% since April and are 82% higher than this week in 2019. 

From January through August, China to North Europe volumes declined by 6% compared to last year, and rates have fallen by 64% since the start of the year.  But persistent congestion has kept rates more than 4.5 times higher than in 2019. 

Transatlantic rates have decreased by 15% since the end of August, but port congestion kept rates even with the start of the year at about $7,000/FEU, a level 3.5 times higher than in 2019. 

Asia-US rates for this week

  • Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Daily) decreased 9% to $2,492/FEU. This rate is 86% lower than the same time last year.
  • Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Daily) fell 5% to $5,719/FEU, and are 72% lower than rates for this week last year.

Check in next week for more real-time freight market updates to help you ship smoother.

More rates from

Containerized Freight Rates from the Freightos Baltic Index
FBX LaneGlobalAsia – US West CoastAsia –US East CoastAsia – North EuropeNorth Europe – US East Coast
This Week$3,424$2,492$5,719$5,229$7,041
Last Week-3%-9%-5%-5%0%
Last Year*-67%-86%-72%-63%-2%
* Compared to the corresponding week in 2021

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