Despite declining ocean container shipping rates, the global container market remains strong. CTS data released in August indicates that demand in the worldwide container market is sustaining record levels during the pandemic (after declining in the second half of last year and the first months of this year).
Global market volumes stabilised in the spring of 2023 and were around 15 million TEU monthly from May to July. In August, CTS estimated the market volume at 15.3 million TEU, up 3.6 percent from a year ago and up 5.3 percent from August pre-coronavirus 2019.
Every month, 2023 volumes continue to increase in all regions except Europe. European imports have declined since March, but volumes are still above the lows of the second half of last year. European exports have been at record lows since the beginning of this year.
In Asia, volumes continue to increase: import volumes are below pandemic levels but well above pre-pandemic levels for 2019-2018; containerised export volumes are above the 2021-2022 highs for the second month.
The schedule of dynamics of container import volumes in the US this year more or less corresponds to the 2019-2018 schedules, but the average monthly volumes are 100-150 thousand TEU higher than pre-coronavirus volumes.
Moreover, the typical seasonal slowdown in demand did not occur towards the end of summer: container traffic volumes entering North American ports increased by 5.5 per cent in August.