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Is shipping gradually returning to a new normal?

Stay up to date with the latest air cargo, ocean freight, and international shipping news with

Dylan Sommer

Weekly highlights

Recent retailer reports of excess inventory and falling sales for certain goods suggest that the dip in ocean volumes and falling container rates were not driven solely by the drop in China’s manufacturing.  

If these signs reflect a real shift in consumer spending then the possible surge of imports as Shanghai reopens and the feared congestion and chaos of peak season may not materialize. 

The pandemic is waning in the west and inflation is pushing money to necessities, but indicators are conflicting: National Retail Federation projections for imports through the summer remain extremely elevated, and ocean spot rate futures and contract rates are likewise high. 

So, what should you make of all this?

Changes in inventory and spending are clear signs that things are changing.

But, there is likely enough demand and congestion to increase delays and ocean rates as Shanghai reopens and peak season progresses, though perhaps not to the extremes seen last year.

Taken together, this mix of sometimes competing indications may signal the start of a gradual return to a new normal.

Asia-US rates for this week

  • Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Daily) fell 11% to $9,574/FEU. This rate is just 9% higher than the same time last year.
  • Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Daily) dropped 14% to $11,908/FEU, and are 28% higher 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$7,210$9,574$11,908$10,719$8,969
Last Week-5%-11%-14%1%7%
Last Year*19%9%28%-3%73%
* Compared to the corresponding week in 2021

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