Fall in Container Spot Rates ‘Much Steeper,’ ‘Less Orderly’ Than Expected
Global index down 44% over past 6 months but still 3.4 times pre pandemic average
Shipping liner executives predicted a continued drop in spot rates during their latest quarterly calls, while offering soothing assurances to investors that the fall would be gradual. Maersk CFO Patrick Jany said it would be a “progressive erosion,” not “a one-day drop.” Matson CEO Matt Cox emphasized rates were “adjusting slowly” in an “orderly marketplace” and not “falling off a cliff.”
The decline may indeed be fairly steady, as opposed to the sudden, violent swings seen in bulk commodity shipping. Yet spot container rates appear to be falling more rapidly than some liner executives expected.
Stifel analyst Ben Nolan recently met with executives of Matson (NYSE: MATX). “In our meetings, management indicated that … the downward softening has been much steeper and less orderly in the past two months,” Nolan wrote in a client note on Sunday.
Matson introduced its third trans-Pacific service — China-California Express (CCX) — in June 2021 to meet booming demand. During the Aug. 1 conference call, Cox said CCX would run through October. It didn’t.
“As a result [of softening demand] the company has completed the last sailing of the temporary CCX service ahead of the targeted October conclusion date,” said Nolan.
Source: American Shipper
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