Understanding Container Market Trends in Asia, Europe and North Asia

The container freight market has just come out of an unpredictable year, where the global pandemic, shifts in consumption patterns, and logistical issues have come together in an unexpected way, driving the cost of shipping to multi-year highs. Demand in the container freight market remains firm in the beginning months of 2021, with freight rates on major trade lanes such as North Asia to North America, and North Asia to Europe hovering near all-time highs.

Shippers are continuing to hope for a break from firm rates and a lack of availability after experiencing months of challenging market conditions. However, there is a backlog of demand, leaving the supply/demand market balance off-kilter. Furthermore, the rapidly changing spot market has impacted term contract negotiations this year. Some shippers have also started to consider rail services as an alternative, with the dependability of train schedules, and the cost factor in mind.

In light of these developments, SLA collaborated with S&P Platts to organize a webinar on 11 March 2021 with presentations on the container market trends and insights for Asia, Europe and North Asia, examining the cause behind the record-high freight rates. A total of 87 company representatives attended the webinar and engaged the panelists in a wide range of questions.  The short session addressed issues on: new operating norms for logistics players given the shifts in supply chains; price thresholds and shipping costs; possibility of freight rates going back to 2019 levels; differences in pricing; shipping duration for multimodal cargo between North Asia and Europe; dealing with lack of reliability and ambiguity of enforceability of earlier entered contracts; and how will term negotiations be affected by infrastructure and space constraints.

Interested SLA members who have missed the event can log on to HIVE and access 'Resources' to watch the replay of the webinar. 

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