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- Susan Oatway FICS
Does the dramatic collapse in container spot rates during the second half of 2022 signal a return to the pre-pandemic status quo, or has the market shifted in more fundamental ways? Carriers’ claims that operating costs are up and must be passed on to customers will trigger déjà vu on the shipper side, even as these shippers used the second half of last year to press for revisions to contracts negotiated during a much tighter market. Flush with pandemic market cash, carriers have diversified into a range of logistics services and other businesses and, at least in the run-up to the pandemic, became skillful at managing capacity — but they still must earn their living moving cargo. What can shippers expect as 2023 unfolds and, most importantly for breakbulk shippers, what are the implications for a multipurpose sector that flourished — after a painful, decade-plus recession — in the pandemic spillover market? Have all spillover cargoes by this point returned to container ships, or are shippers continuing to diversify their shipping modes as a longer-term risk-management strategy? Will cargo-hungry container carriers chase breakbulk cargoes even more aggressively? Peter Tirschwell, vice president of S&P Global Market Intelligence, will share his container market perspective and outlook before being joined by Journal of Commerce research analyst Susan Oatway to discuss the likely knock-on effects that the much-larger container market may have in store for the multipurpose side.