Freightos Report: US west coast container rates 82% lower YoY despite weekly increase

Container prices from East Asia and China to the United States have stabilized higher this week, while operational problems at the port on Canada’s west coast appear to have resolved after repeated deals, underscoring the week’s logistical recovery. 

Interest rates have fluctuated for months after a surge in consumer demand in the US during and after the pandemic.  

As per Freightos, rates on the US West Coast are 82% lower than a year ago. This is despite a slight increase this week. Fares for

The East end have held steady this week and are 76% lower than the same time a year ago.

Judah Levine, head of research at Freightos, said that while US port volumes are still way down from the previous year, they topped 2019 levels in June, which has led some analysts to describe the current market as normalizing, not collapsing.

Levine said excess inventory levels are continuing to generate headwinds, but some destocking could be contributing to increased volumes.

The Port of Los Angeles said June container volumes were at their highest since last July and just 5% below the record level set last year.

Container ships are relevant to the chemical industry because, while most chemicals are liquids and are shipped in tankers, container ships transport polymers such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), which are shipped in pellets.

Speaking of the liquid chemical tankers, the rates out of the US were largely flat this week, with a slight decrease seen on the US Gulf to Caribbean trade lane.

A broker said activity on the transatlantic eastbound route was limited, with the majority of inquiries destined for the Mediterranean.

Large volumes of glycols are destined for mid-China from the US West Coast, the broker said, with market rates holding steady for August liftings and partial cargo space still available.

Another settlement on the Canadian Port Labour Dispute

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada has settled on a new tentative deal with the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) to resolve the labor dispute at Canada’s west coast ports.

The second tentative deal in a week, this comes as a strike from 1-13 July and renewed brief industrial action this week have disrupted operations at Vancouver, Prince Rupert, and other ports.

The uncertainties prompted potash export marketing group Canpotex to announce the withdrawal of all offers for new sales while fertilizer producer Nutrien announced further production curtailments at its potash mines in Saskatchewan province.

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