Calmer waters?

Dec 06 | 2022

Santa Fe looks at what’s happened to ocean freight and what might be on the horizon. ​

What might be on the horizon for ocean freight?Professionals planning moves to new countries and continents have endured a truly turbulent 24 months. But as the global mobility business returns to a relative sense of normality, there’s brighter news on the horizon when it comes to moving personal and household effects via surface and sea.

Containing cost
The cost of shipping a container of furniture from Europe to the Far East has settled, and despite continued congestion at ports, pockets of industrial action, and high inflation, prices are set to fall further next year.

Ocean freight has a long reputation for volatility. But no forecast could have predicted the unprecedented profitability of a pandemic. Between 2020 and 2023, container shipping groups will have made as much money as they did in the previous 60-years put together. In other words, more in three years than from the 1950s when container ships were first built, through to 2019.

Thankfully these bumper returns have meant increased investment from the largest ocean freight operators. They’ve been correcting their balance sheets, which had barely recovered from the financial crisis of 2008, and invested hugely in integrated infrastructure, including land-based logistics facilities to complement their container businesses. They’re also adding more capacity through new vessels, though these take some three years to build - and some may be launched in a future of lower demand. The net result is a (relative) state of calm, with the average cost of moving a standard 40-foot container over our oceans now 45% lower than at the peak of Autumn 2021. In all, for a global, mobile workforce, there’s a lot to celebrate - in cost, efficiency and new technologies that make moving easier than ever before ...

Click here to read the full story in The Mover magazine.

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