It is not a surprise, the price of container shipping has increased significantly since the beginning of 2020. “ Spot rates were about six times higher on average by the end of 2021 and contract rates 2.9 times higher “, reports this study on maritime logistics carried out by the International Transport Forum (ITF) on behalf of the OECD.
However, these figures underestimate the rising cost of container shipping. ” Shippers today face a range of other surcharges and increased demurrage and detention charges “, continues the study. ” Over the same period, ship schedule reliability has fallen from 65% to 34%, meaning that two out of three ships arrive in port at least one day late. Additionally, unplanned port cancellations have also increased. »
If we add to this vessel turnaround times in the ports of China and the United States which has doubled (and increased by 15% in Europe) and line reconfigurations to the detriment of Africa in particular, “ these challenges, along with pressure on port and inland logistics capacity as well as labor shortages related to Covid19, have undermined just-in-time business and logistics models. »
According to the OECD, global container shipping companies appear to have finally shifted ship capacity to trans-Pacific trade routes, to meet increased US demand first. All facilitated by certain public policies and cooperation agreements between shipping companies… Where competition should have first lowered prices. Finally, freight rates are at their highest since 2020, with record profits for shipping companies.
” Thanks to these freight rates, the operating margin of the ten largest container shipping lines reached around USD 160 billion in 2021, part of which was used to finance acquisitions in the freight forwarding and logistics businesses. concludes the OECD, which then lists a series of recommendations. Among other things, improve the monitoring of container shipping competition and revise its modalities, taking into account in particular the model of vertical integration of shipping companies. The OECD also recommends greater transparency of tariffs and shipping costs and urges governments to take more ownership of this issue of economic sovereignty.
The European Commission has also launched a call for contributions in order to gather opinions on the impact of these consortia between shipping companies and of the exemption regulation, which allows shipping companies to exchange contracts and coordinate their rotations. Interested parties have eight weeks, until October 3, 2022, to submit their comments.