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Average shipping container prices decline at ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, logjam still unabated

  • Container Availability Index (CAx) values consistently greater than 0.80 showing very high levels of inbound containers
  • Average container prices drop by 10.7% at the port of Los Angeles from Aug to Nov, and by 10.5% at the port of Long beach from Sept to Nov

Container xChange, the world’s leading tech company for container trading and leasing published container prices and availability data across the key ports of the United States. As majority of ports at the United States struggle to process the soaring flow of inbound containers, the average shipping container prices fell in the month of October by an average of 10% at the ports of LA, LB and more recently the port of Savannah too. The ports in the US are showing very high Container availability Index (CAx) values consistently as compared to the year 2020 and 2019 (pre-pandemic times). On a global scale, about 78 ports recorded CAx values higher than 0.50 (the value of 0.50 represents the ideal balance of inbound and outbound containers).

As per the data, the average prices for 40 ft High cube containers have dropped by 10.7% from $4863 to $4342 from the month of August to November at the port of Long Beach.

At the port of Los Angeles, a 20 ft dry container costs $1850 and a 40 High cube costs around $4342. The table below shows the decline in the average prices for a forty ft high cube container since the month of August this year at the Los Angeles port.

Overall, the average one-way container leasing pickup charges on China to United States stretch have also slashed after it peaked in the month of September from $2810 to $1760 in October.
Looking at the inbound/outbound container data by Container xChange, CAx values that are consistently above 0.70 indicate that these ports have been importing an increasing number of containers for a long period and the exports are impacted due to prevailing supply-chain factors.  Particularly the port of Long Beach and Los Angeles have consistently shown CAx values higher than 0.80 since the beginning of the year which shows the catastrophic problem of higher inbound containers at these ports. The situation is similar at ports like Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, and other ports in the US West Coast.

The container availability index (CAx) at the port of Long Beach is 0.88 this week, which is the highest since the year 2019. The CAx values stood at 0.67 in 2019 and at 0.68 in 2020. The higher CAx values indicate that in proportion to the inbound containers, outbound containers are much higher. The gap is at its peak at the port.

The port of Oakland, for instance, showed up a general CAx values between a range of 0.36 to a maximum of 0.65 at a given week throughout the year 2020, which is somewhere in the range of 0.70 to 0.96 at any given week in the year 2021.
“The United States being an import destination of containers, has witnessed extraordinary number of vessels this year as the demand grew exponentially, especially in the north America region. This has crippled the supply chain because the ports and the supporting ecosystem has not been prepared adequately. We need measures to collectively improve the situation at these ports, which has had a domino effect on other ports and infact on the global supply chain. As per our forecast, the container prices will level off at a new normal that will be atleast 2X of the pre-pandemic cost by the end of next year 2022.” said Dr. Johannes Schlingmeier, CEO and co-founder of Container xChange.

Even the ports in the US East Coast like the port of Savannah, have experienced dip in the average prices for containers. A 40 feet high cube container costs $4607 in November while it costed $5224 in September, almost a dip of 11-12%. At the port of Savannah, as of week 47, the CAx stands at 0.94 which was 0.81 in 2020 and 0.84 in the year 2019 during the same week. Clearly, the port. Is handling very high number of inbound containers this year as compared to the past two years.