Prices for shipping containers have risen to their highest since October 2015, a clear indication that maritime trade is increasing after years of lackluster growth.
The Harpex Shipping Index, which tracks weekly shipping container rates, has climbed 40 percent this year to 439 points. Moreover, container charterers say that lead times to order containers have risen – to over a month in some cases, as not enough are available to meet the rising demand.
The market seems tight… (and) we are urging liners to release more boxes.- Chairman, Hong Kong Shippers’ Council
Aside from sector-specific factors, like the scrapping of excess ships and the bankruptcy of South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping, shipping lines say that increasing international trade has also added to the container shortage.