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- Rachel Shames
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Just weeks into 2023, the market is almost unrecognizable compared to the past two years of massive pandemic impact. If the market was defined then by tonnage idled outside of ports combined with a consumer spending surge that together produced a state of unprecedented tightness and stratospheric rates, now it looks positively, well, normal. The last vestiges of port congestion are clearing out, spot rates and expectations for contract rate levels are back to pre-pandemic norms, and container lines' brief ironclad control of the market is gone, at least for the moment. On the horizon is a possible US recession, a bloated vessel order book and the need to repair tattered relationships. In this opening market outlook session — a feature of the TPM program since 2001 — industry leaders will offer their big-picture outlook for the year ahead.