April ended with a cheer for Indian shippers as prices of shipping containers across major ports of Nhava Sheva (Mumbai), Chennai and Mundra (Gujarat) went down. However, Peter Sundara, global head of ocean freight at a major Singapore-based cargo owner, stated that this dip in box rates is a temporary trend and freight prices would start to increase again. They will probably end up being higher than the pre-Covid levels.
“This is driven by an uptick in demand, especially after the easing of China’s Covid-19 lockdown and an increase in demand from US and EU for upcoming holidays of Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, etc,” said Sundara.
While the plunge in container rates started in mid-January and continues, the prices are still higher than in January 2021. According to Container Xchange, the rates are 40% higher in Chennai port and 36% higher in Nhava Sheva and Mundra port respectively.