Shipping Container Prices Rise Pointing to Rise in Trade

Prices for shipping containers, the metal boxes that carry 90 percent of the world’s manufactured goods, have risen to their highest since October 2015, a clear indicator that seaborne trade is increasing and should grow further this year.

The Harpex Shipping Index, which tracks weekly shipping container rates, has climbed 40 percent this year to 439 points. Container charterers say that lead times to order container have risen, to over a month in some cases, as not enough are available to meet demand.

The tight market for the standardized boxes is a result of carriers cutting overcapacity and follows some bankruptcies. But the gains also point to a recovery in global trading after years of lackluster growth.

“The market seems tight… (and) we are urging liners to release more box,” said Willy Lin, chairman of the Hong Kong Shippers’ Council, which represents manufacturers and cargo owners.

Sector-specific factors like the scrapping of excess ships and the bankruptcy of South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping have pushed up the index. But, shippers also say that increasing international trade has added to the container shortage.

via Reuters

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza