Sea Freight | Freight Rates in the Gulf and South America Rise as Asia-Europe and US Routes Weaken

Container shipping rates from China to the “emerging countries” of the Middle East and South America have been rising, while rates on the Asia-Europe and trans-Pacific trade lanes have fallen.

As the U.S. and European economies come under pressure, these regions are importing less consumer goods from China, leading China to look to emerging markets and countries along the Belt and Road as alternative outlets, according to a new report by Container xChange.

In April, at the Canton Fair, China’s largest trade event, exporters said uncertainty in the global economy had led to a sharp drop in demand for their products from European and American retailers.

China freight forwarder


As demand for Chinese exports has shifted to new regions, prices for container shipping to those regions have also risen.

According to the Shanghai Export Containerized Freight Index (SCFI), the average freight rate from Shanghai to the Persian Gulf was about $1,298 per standard container at the beginning of this month, 50% higher than this year’s low. The freight rate of Shanghai-South America (Santos) is US$2,236/TEU, an increase of more than 80%.

Last year, Qingdao Port in East China opened 38 new container routes, mainly along the “Belt and Road” route, shipping from China to emerging markets such as Southeast Asia, South America and the Middle East.

container ship service from China


The port handled nearly 7 million TEUs in the first quarter of 2023, an increase of 16.6% year-over-year. In contrast, cargo volumes at the port of Shanghai, which mainly exports to the US and Europe, fell 6.4% year-on-year.

According to data from the General Administration of Customs, in the first quarter of this year, China’s exports of intermediate products to countries along the “Belt and Road” increased by 18.2% year-on-year to $158 billion, accounting for more than half of the total exports to these countries. Liner operators have launched services in the Middle East, as these regions are creating hubs for manufacturers and there is infrastructure to support ocean freight.

In March, COSCO SHIPPING Ports acquired a 25 percent stake in Egypt’s Sokhna new container terminal for $375 million. The terminal, built by the Egyptian government, has an annual throughput of 1.7 million TEU, and the terminal operator will receive a 30-year franchise.

commercial container ship from China

Post time: Jun-21-2023