The container shortages that have been adding to logistics logjams in Asia and beyond are showing few signs of being resolved, according to the latest data from Container xChange
The online platform for leasing and trading shipping containers showed that in China, average prices for used 20-ft containers increased 94% between November 2020 and March 2021. The surge from an average price of US$1,299 per box in November last year to US$2,521 in March indicates that container scarcity is continuing to worsen.
The latest Container Availability Index data also reveals that equipment shortages are now driving up container prices at major Indian ports. Between June 2020 and March 2021, average used 20-ft container prices across the ports of Chennai, Mundra and Nhava Sheva rose from US$1,106 to US$1,755, an increase of 58%.
Container xChange chief executive and founder Dr Johannes Schlingmeier said “The relentless pace of container shipping trade since mid-2020 is not easing and this is reflected in equipment shortages in Asia, and elsewhere. We expect markets will tighten even further in the coming weeks as the ripple effect of the Suez Canal closure at the end of March further disrupts container shipping services and equipment availability.”
Across the eight biggest ports in China, average prices for used 20-ft containers climbed 38% from US$1,251 in November 2020 to US$1,733 in March 2021.
Container xChange said “such is the urgent demand for boxes in the current highly stressed ocean container market that the cost of procuring a used container has now increased far beyond what was previously considered a ‘normal’ price for a newbuild container.”
“It always depends on the exact equipment type, but before shortages became critical, a standard used container which was a few years old would cost around US$1,000 in China, while a brand-new container would be about double the price,” said Dr Schlingmeier.
“However, in the current market, used containers are selling at US$2,300-US$2,600 across China, while prices for brand-new containers at Shanghai, for example, have skyrocketed by 64% in 2021 to an average of US$3,390.”
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