The sharp, sudden spike in supply chain inflation caused by the Red Sea crisis and ongoing attacks on shipping vessels by Houthi rebels may have peaked on key global trade routes, based on analysis of the latest data from Xeneta, a leading ocean and and air freight benchmarking platform. It tells CNBC that rates on ocean routes from Asia to Europe and the Mediterranean are beginning to decline, but for U.S.-bound trade, prices are still climbing.
Average February short-term rates for forty-foot containers compared to the last round of general rate increases, implemented on January 16, show a slight decline.
Forty-foot containers originating from the Far East to the Mediterranean per 40-foot container are set to be $5,950 under February’s GRIs. On January 16, rates were at the recent peak of $6,050. On the trade route from the Far East to North Europe, rates for 40-foot containers are set to be $4,820 at the start of February, slightly below the peak of $4,850 on January 16.
“Based on the fact the February general rate increases are below anticipated levels, this suggests ocean carriers have been forced to negotiate down with shippers,” said Emily Stausbøll, Xeneta market analyst. She added this is the best indication of where the market is headed. “It now appears some shippers are pushing back and managing to agree to lower rates. So, we may see rates begin to flatten or decline sooner than many anticipated in February,” she said.