What will peak season mean for ocean freight rates this year?
According to the Journal of Commerce, although carrier rates have been “depressed” for quite a while, the last couple of weeks has seen some spikes in the Asia-Europe trade routes. And carriers have begun to reduce capacity on certain routes, betting that higher demand will justify increased pricing.
But does that ensure higher rates? Hard to say. The world economy, lead by China’s current slowdown, is still sluggish. But, per the JOC, there are many outside factors swirling around this issue:
“Maybe the stock market correction has run its course. Maybe the lower import prices that come with China’s August devaluation of the yuan will stimulate imports. Maybe historically low fuel prices will convince consumers to spend. Maybe the seven-year low in U.S. unemployment rates will do the same. And maybe ocean carriers will reverse the course they’ve taken during the last five years by effectively managing capacity, thereby sustaining rate levels that, along with cost-cutting efforts, staunch the deep losses that, as an industry, they’ve suffered.”
Bottom line: Experts are hedging their bets on whether ocean carrier rates will rise. Stay tuned.