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Ocean container rates skyrocket in just three weeks

Ocean container rates are experiencing a significant surge, increasing by 16% this week alone and soaring 46% over the past three weeks.

According to Drewry, a container price tracking firm, the average spot rate has reached $4,072 per 40-foot container. This figure is 142% higher than the same period last year and 187% higher than the pre-pandemic average of $1,420 in 2019.


Rates have risen across all trade routes. The cost from Shanghai to Los Angeles jumped 18% to $5,277, marking a 48% increase in three weeks. Similarly, Shanghai to New York rates increased by 13% to $6,463, up 41% over the same period.

Several factors are contributing to these rising rates, including increased demand from North American importers preparing for the second half of the year's inventory needs, and growing port congestion. Another factor is the rise in blank sailings, where ocean carriers reduce capacity, according to FreightWaves.

Emily Stausbøll, senior shipping analyst at Xeneta, expresses her concerns in an article on Furniture Today, saying that demand reached record levels in Q1 2024, rising by 9.2% compared to Q1 2023, coinciding with the Red Sea situation, which is further straining shipping capacity.


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