News & Insights

Container rates ease, but empty containers remain a big issue across the globe

14 Sep 2022

As we inch closer to the holiday season, container fees ease in some areas, while delays and empty container issues remain. Sydney and Brisbane in particular are feeling the strain of growing numbers of empty containers.

Make sure you’re prepared for the Christmas period

The holiday period is coming up fast, and as always, it’s important to make sure that you organise your parcels well in advance to ensure they get to their destinations in time. Pre-planning your shipments allows for potential scheduling delays and shortages.

With a forecasted big buying season and the ongoing effects of supply chain disruption, it’s vital that you have a clear strategy for your cargo in the upcoming season.

Shipping updates and news in September 2022

1. Auckland sees big vessel delays. In Auckland, New Zealand, the average vessel delays are up to 4 to 6 days. This is a result of labour shortages and vessel bunching. Utilisation at Patrick Terminals in NZ as of 10 August 2022 was at around 78%. These delays are impacting container availability, delivery to end users, and creating extended transit times.

2. China’s foreign trade hits new highs. 2022 has seen China’s foreign trade of goods increase by 9.4 percent year-on-year. During the first half of 2022, there has already been 19.8 trillion yuan generated. Exports also rose 13.2 percent year-on-year.

3. Bunker fuel rates (BAF) have fallen in recent months off record highs. Throughout the final three months of 2021, bunker fuel prices in the Asia Pacific climbed 30.2%. These costs have been passed onto shippers by the carriers, so this has provided some much-needed relief from the increasing rates.

4. The empty containers problem continues in Sydney, with some issues also in Brisbane. Congestion in ports has been a heavy burden on import container de-hires and returns in Sydney ports. Empty containers are piling up to the point where some empty container parks have closed due to full capacity.

5. Container rates continue to fall. In February 2022, it was reported that around 11.6% of the global container fleet capacity was unutilised. As global trade volumes slow and containers are underutilised globally, freight rates for containers and dry bulkers, especially in China, are easing. Since the beginning of 2022, freight rates have dropped by an average of 20 per cent.

6. Sea freight container volume growth has slowed to around 3% for 2022. Year-on-year, this represents a downshift of 7%. Container volumes have been heavily affected by global events, including the Shanghai lockdowns.

If you have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your MYC liaison or call us on +61 8 9253 0121.