Key insights:

  1. A survey of SMB importers on the Freightos.com marketplace reflect recent reports of growing retail inventories and dipping demand:
    1. More than half of respondents report they’ve placed peak season orders early in the hopes of building inventory.
    2. Two-thirds said they are already experiencing a decrease in demand, with 84% of those attributing that dip to inflation.
  2. Congestion continues to ease at LA/Long Beach, with Freightos.com China - US ocean transit times down 25% since the start of the year, and level with a year ago.
  3. Transpacific ocean rates have fallen so far this month, though in June 2021 they were climbing with the start of peak season. Whatever the driver – relative improvements in container flows, volumes still to come as Shanghai rebounds, or a decrease in underlying demand – for now spot rates for many shippers are beneath contract rates. This trend could add some more instability at a time that many carriers and shippers might prefer better reliability.

Asia-US rates:

  • Asia-US West Coast prices (FBX01 Daily) dipped 3% to $8,934/FEU. This rate is just 1% higher than the same time last year.
  • Asia-US East Coast prices (FBX03 Daily) fell 1% to $11,589/FEU, and are 16% higher than rates for this week last year.

  • Analysis

There were more signs this week of inventory surpluses and a resulting slowing in orders by major retailers suggesting a decrease in demand – at least for certain goods – as consumers shift spending to services or to the inflated costs of necessities, or both.

A recent survey of freightos.com marketplace users shows that SMB importers are experiencing these trends too: More than half of respondents report they’ve placed peak season orders early in the hopes of building inventory. Two-thirds said they are already experiencing a decrease in demand, with 84% of those attributing that dip to inflation.

Minimal port congestion in Shanghai shows there’s still no sign of a surge of pent up demand many expected to follow the city’s reopening. Port congestion has also continued to improve at LA/Long Beach in the last two months, with fewer than 20 ships waiting for a berth currently, as a near record number of containers were processed in May.

Freightos.com data for end-to-end ocean shipments from China to the US confirm this improvement showing average transit times so far in June have dropped nearly 25% since the start of the year – level with a year ago, though still significantly higher than pre-pandemic norms.