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Container prices soar as shortage hits exporters

2021-09-17 15:33:21
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Container prices soar as shortage hits exporters

Average prices up 18% and 37% for 20- and 40-ft boxes The average prices of containers rose by 18 per cent and 37 per cent for 20-foot and 40-foot dry containers (DC), respectively, at Indian ports between May and September, adding to the overheated container freight rates that has roiled India’s export-import (EXIM) trade.

Hamburg-based Container xChange says that the continued surge in container prices and growing imbalance of container availability in India is negatively impacting and leading to supply chain slowdown, a problem which will continue to grow up until 2022 and beyond.

Container xChange is an online platform that brings together all stakeholders of the container logistics industry to buy, sell and lease shipping containers.

Data trends and analysis by the firm on the impact of global supply chain disruption on the Indian container logistics market indicates that there is further rise in the historically high prices of 20 - foot and 40-foot dry containers at Nhava Sheva, Mundra and Chennai ports.

Rise in prices
Compared to May, in September, prices for 20-foot dry containers rose by 18 per cent while the prices for 40-foot containers increased by 37 per cent, according to the online platform.

The average price of a 20-foot dry container in September is $2,462 (₹1,81,320.15), up from $2,078 in May. The pre-pandemic price was about $1,000 for 20-foot dry container and $2,000 for 40-foot dry container.

The average price of a 40 - foot dry high cube container is $ 4,193.75 (₹ 3,08,859.20), a 37 per cent increase over the price in May which was $ 3,041.84 (₹ 2,24,023.91).

The Container Availability Index (CAx) by Container xChange, a tool used to monitor inbound and outbound volumes of containers for ports globally, indicates that the inbound containers are at an all-time high since 2019 by about 4 times at Chennai port (and similarly other ports in India), indicating an all-time high imbalance of inbound and outbound containers at the port.

“The growing imbalance of inbound and outbound containers being experienced in the Container Availability Index (CAx) at major Indian ports (including Nhava Sheva, Mundra and Chennai) is an indication of two key market conditions – exports are being impacted immensely (inspite of a record month in July for India’s exports) and imbalance of inbound containers over outbound containers is getting worse by the week,” Christian Roeloffs, CEO and Co-founder, Container xChange told BusinessLine.

“The CAx values at major Indian ports are rising because exporters are facing hurdles to export their goods from India. The rising container freight and spot costs over the past months, containers stuck in other locations which delays their cargo and vessel capacity issues are some pain points,” said Johannes Schlingmeier, Co-founder and CEO, Container xChange.

The costs have been skyrocketing since the beginning of the year 2021 and continue to soar higher every week. Therefore, the number of containers that could have taken off from India to its destination has slowed down, mirroring a trend observed in the global supply chain slow down, he added.

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