Shipping industry stabilizing, pursuing expansion in South Asia

Boat with shipping containers

Shipping container prices have begun to normalize from the lows they reached earlier this year, and consumer demand continues to rise with peak season approaching, according to shipping logistics and data firm Container xChange.

In May 2023, the average price of shipping a 40-foot container in the United States was USD 2,048 (EUR 1,915), down from USD 3,092 (EUR 2,891) in May 2022. And the average price of shipment for a 40-foot container in China, Vietnam, and Singapore was down 40 percent in May 2023 year-over-year, according to Container xChange's June report

"The increased availability of shipping containers with lower price tags has become commercially more attractive,” Container xChange said.  

According to Freight Waves, container inventory levels have returned to normal, and retail sales are still above the pre-pandemic trends. The shipping sector predicts a moderate peak season, "roughly in line with pre-Covid levels, with no fireworks."

India has recently become the focal point of the shipping industry's efforts to expand capacity in Asia, with a potential plan emerging to build a USD 5 billion (EUR 4.6 billion) container transshipment terminal in the Bay of Bengal, according to Container xChange CEO Christian Roeloffs

“India is uniquely placed naturally to develop into a transshipment hub. With the right investments and focus, the country can be fully equipped to position itself as an important cog in the wheel of the global supply chain,” Roeloffs said.

The average price of shipment for a 40-foot container in India in May down 51.15 percent lower, or USD 2,299 (EUR 2,150) from the May 2022 average price of USD 4,494 (EUR 4202) a year ago, Container xChange reported.

Hapag-Lloyd recently took an ownership stake JM Baxi Ports & Logistics, one of India’s leading private terminal and inland transport service providers, indicating increasing interest from major shippers in adding capacity in South Asia.

Photo courtesy of Martin Charles Hatch/Shutterstock


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