Global Container Logistics Report: November 2023

Your monthly container logistics update is here! This is a report on container prices, availability, and market trends. It covers ports in Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Middle East, Europe, and the US. It also includes:

  • A roundup of the global events impacting the industry and the way forward

  • Prices to buy, sell and lease containers along with monthly trends

  • Container availability updates (2019 – 2023)

  • Smart container moves, pick-up charges, profit options, and the most liquid locations

  • Top 5 locations on the Container xChange platform with the biggest WoW growth and drop

What happened in October?

Overview of container prices in October

Asia: Chinese manufacturers cut prices, aiding shoppers ahead of Christmas

Following a 16-year low in Chinese exports, the nation’s economy is now displaying signs of stability. In August 2023, exports in China decreased by 8.8% compared to the previous year, while imports fell by 7.3%.

Despite modest improvements in data, the threat of recession in Europe and high inflation in many major economies have contributed to a plunge in demand for Chinese goods.

To address the economic challenges, the Chinese government has implemented a few strategic measures. These include a focus on increasing the production of small consumer goods, particularly in the light industry sector.

Manufacturers in China have reduced prices this year due to the weakening domestic economy, potentially offering relief to Western holiday shoppers this Christmas.

The average prices of cargo-worthy 40ft containers in China have plummeted from $2,094 in October 2022 to $1,343 in October 2023, a whopping 55% drop in just a year.

India: Trade deficit on a decline

In September 2023, India’s exports experienced a 2.59% decline, totalling $34.47 billion compared to $35.4 billion in September 2022, as reported by the Ministry of Commerce. The country’s imports also decreased by 15% year-on-year to reach $53.84 billion in September 2023. As a result, India’s trade deficit for September stood at $19.37 billion.

This dip in exports has been part of a broader trend for the current financial year, with a total contraction of 8.77%, resulting in exports amounting to $211.4 billion. During the first half of the financial year 2024, India’s imports also declined by 12.23%, totalling $326.98 billion.

However, amid the export challenges, there were positive signs in September, with a 1.86% increase in the export of petroleum, gems, and jewelry. Notably, petroleum exports grew despite a reduction in value due to falling crude oil prices.

On our platform, the average price of a cargo-worthy 40ft container in some of the top ports of India was $1,530 with the lowest price being $1,490 at the Nhava Sheva port. This time last year, the average price was $2,848, a significant 46% decrease.

Middle East: Shipping industry continues operations amidst conflict

Amidst the Israel-Hamas tension, the global shipping industry has been on high alert, closely monitoring the situation. Surprisingly, shipping and port operations remain relatively unscathed at this point, with key industry players providing reassurances and updates to their operations.

Hapag-Lloyd highlighted the stable operational situation at Haifa and Ashdod ports. The only exception is Ashdod’s restriction on the acceptance of dangerous cargo, with Haifa still accepting bookings without constraints.

However, the situation is fluid and subject to change, with the threat level potentially escalating if Hezbollah from southern Lebanon becomes involved.

The S&P 500 fell by 0.5%, indicating the market’s response to the uncertainty. Safe-haven assets, such as gold, saw increased demand, with gold prices rising more than 3% on October 13.

Container shipping rates to Israel have fallen due to the ongoing conflict. The cost for 20-foot containers from Europe and Asia to Israel is seeing a downward trend.

Europe: EU Ends Exemption for Cargo Shipping Companies

Starting April 2024, the European Union’s Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) will no longer extend the exemption on cargo shipping companies.

The end of this exemption will have implications for the industry, as companies had been sharing vessel space with competitors to boost profits, leading some to believe this change could disrupt the global trade business. The European Union’s decision to end CBER is also poised to impact the cost of imported goods in the EU.

Across the three key ports in North Europe, our data recorded a sharp fall since 2022 in the average prices for cargo-worthy 40ft boxes. On an average, the prices had plummeted by 53% since October 2022 with the average price being $930 in October 2023.

The US: Shipping rates in freefall in Q4 2023

Daily market prices for cargo movement from Asia to the U.S. and Europe in September witnessed a staggering drop, reaching up to 90% when compared to early 2022.

Ship operators are also choosing to mothball vessels to minimize operating costs, resulting in a 7% decrease in container capacity in September compared to the previous year as reported by Xeneta.

Blank sailings between Asia and North America are the highest since April, at 23%, according to Sea-Intelligence Maritime Analysis.

The average price of a cargo-worthy 40ft container in major ports in the US in October 2022 on our platform was $2,267. By the end of October 2023, the same was $1,933, a 17.27% drop.

Where does the data for our monthly reports come from?

For our monthly ‘Where are all the containers’ reports, we leverage the data from the transactions taking place on our xChange marketplace + third-party analyses and industry news to bring you:

xChange Insights

Insights gives you real-time market prices in 60 locations. It helps define the best locations and time trading containers, gives you price changes, and analysis of the current trends.

Container Availability

The CAx is a tool for monitoring the import and export moves of full containers. In this report, we show CAx trends for 40 DC (of which 55% are 40 HC; the most popular container for freight use).

Leasing dashboard

Container Leasing Rates

We analyze pick-up charges only for popular stretches that we can account for, like China to the US, Europe to China; and more.

Contact us

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