Posted on May 20, 2024
Global shipping news

Weekly Shipping & Logistics News Wrap, Week 21  

Top Highlights 

  • Container spot rates on the rise 
  • Maersk resumes Baltimore bookings 
  • CMA CGM’s Q1 profit goes down 
  • HMM’s sale chances decline  
  • Blank sailings increase 

Container Spot Rates Surge Across Major Trades 

The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) surged 9.3%, reaching 2,520.76 points, marking a 29.8% increase over two weeks. Similarly, Drewry’s World Container Index (WCI) rose 11% to $3,511 per FEU. Rates from Shanghai to Rotterdam, Los Angeles, and New York also saw significant hikes. Analysts predict further increases due to high demand and tight capacity. This rebound in container spot rates indicates a recovery from previous lows, potentially stabilizing the market for shippers. 

Maersk Reopens Baltimore Bookings 

Maersk has resumed bookings for direct loading and discharge at the Port of Baltimore, though Transatlantic services remain suspended. Imports from Asia are open but subject to space availability. The situation at the port is fluid, and vessels may be redirected to other East Coast ports depending on conditions. This move is part of Maersk’s broader strategy to manage its global shipping network efficiently amid ongoing port challenges. 

CMA CGM’s Q1 Profit Slump Amid Market Weakness 

CMA CGM reported a 7% revenue drop in Q1, with profits plummeting over 30%. Despite this, the carrier saw an 11.7% increase in volumes and a positive outlook for its logistics division, bolstered by the acquisition of Bolloré Logistics. CEO Rodolphe Saadé highlighted the group’s resilience and adaptability in challenging market conditions. The carrier remains optimistic about the second half of the year, anticipating a recovery in global trade and shipping demand. 

HMM Sale Unlikely as Korea Increases Stake 

The Korea Development Bank and Korea Ocean Business Corporation are set to increase their stake in HMM to 59%, following a repayment of $74 million in convertible bonds. This move, driven by the Red Sea crisis windfall, could discourage future sales attempts. The stake increase is expected to continue through further bond conversions. HMM’s strengthened financial position may allow it to navigate future market fluctuations more effectively. 

Blank Sailings Surge Amid Widespread Port Congestion 

Shipping companies are increasingly resorting to blank sailings due to port congestion, despite high demand and freight rates. Sea-Intelligence reports significant capacity losses on both Asia-Europe and Transpacific trades. The ongoing Red Sea crisis exacerbates these issues, leading to a scarcity of available vessel capacity. This trend is likely to continue unless port congestion is alleviated, further straining the global supply chain. 

House of Shipping Insight 

The recent surge in container spot rates highlights the dynamic nature of the shipping and logistics industry, driven by high demand and tight capacity. Maersk’s cautious reopening of Baltimore bookings underscores the fluidity of port operations amid logistical challenges. CMA CGM’s Q1 performance reflects market volatility, though acquisitions like Bolloré Logistics bolster its resilience.  

HMM’s increased state-backed stake suggests a more stable, albeit less flexible, future. The surge in blank sailings amid port congestion and the Red Sea crisis demonstrates the delicate balance required to maintain supply chain fluidity. Staying updated with shipping and logistics latest news is crucial for stakeholders navigating these turbulent waters. 

Weekly Shipping & Logistics News Wrap, Week 21  

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