Container shipping market has definitely changed, but quick normalization is not about. It appears that we are at the beginning of the end of the bull run for the sector. The drop in spot rates has taken hold and has dragged on for four months, with declines increasing week after week. Shipping volumes along most sea lanes also fell to the same point a year ago, with high inflation eroding confidence that they will pick up again.
Confidence has vanished with the world currently mired in a “poly-crisis”, but shipping lines still have an ace: supply chain congestion. Once this point is resolved, a very rapid normalization of the market would be expected.
However, there are no signs yet that port bottlenecks are going to disappear. AIS ship tracking data reveals that the number of container ships waiting outside major ports is growing, while customer feedback from Drewry they have changed little from the previous edition, i.e. a solution is not expected before 2023.