After the pandemic-driven surge in consumer demand that triggered a frenzy of shipping activity and skyrocketing prices, logistics and transportation companies are signaling a fast slowdown. Shipping and wholesale prices are plunging and orders are not being placed as often.
With consumer demand wavering and retailers coping with excess inventories at overstuffed warehouses, global container volumes fell 8.6 percent in September, according to maritime data group Container Trade Logistics. This is the lowest level reached since February, during a period when shipping is usually at its peak.
There is market volatility that continues to disrupt the container shipping industry. With an oversupply of containers and an influx of more TEUs (Twenty Equipment Unit) in 2023, shipping lines continue to reduce vessel capacity and suspend services by considerable blank sailings.
“In 2023, there is a high possibility of an all-out price war. It does not seem that the capacity restrictions that we have seen in the past two years are due to return, so we will have ample capacity both on the vessel as well as on the container side,” Christian Roeloffs, Co-founder and CEO of Container xChange, said. “With the competitive dynamics in the container shipping and liner industry, I do not expect especially the big players to hold back. We expect wholesale prices to come down to almost variable costs, and we foresee market consolidation.”