Ocean Freight Rates Report
Period : 1st Jan 2020– 31st Aug 2022
Date : 3rd Sept 2022
Researcher : Esther Low
Source : Freightos Baltic Index https://fbx.freightos.com/freight-index/
Global Average Rates of Ocean Freight
Global container freight rates have continued to ease since March 2022. The highest
reported freight rates were in Sep-21 where freight rates hit $11,109. According to Reuters,
the weaker consumer spending is putting downwards pressure on demand and
subsequently freight rates. Echoing this sentiment Rodolphe Saade, CEO of CMA-CGM said
that the global decline in consumer spending will lead to more normal international trade
conditions in the second half of 2022 as well as to a downturn in shipping demand.
Ocean Freight Rates for Far East Region
(China/East Asia ↔ North Europe)
Ocean freight rates for routes East Asia/China to North Europe have marginally eased to
high $9,600 - $10,000 in Jul and Aug 22.
Meanwhile rates for return route from North Europe to China/East Asia has increase again
from the lowest of $485 in Jul 22 to $701 at the end of Aug 2, a 44% increase.
Ocean Freight Rates for Pacific Region
(China/East Asia ↔ North America East Coast)
Freight rate for the China/East Asia route to North America east coast experienced a
significant decline from $16,705 to $11,599 (a 31% drop) from Jan 22 to June 22. This
decline has since slowed down, freight rates for the route as of 31 st Aug 22 is $9,085, a
45.6% decrease from Jan 22.
For the return route North America East Coast to China/East Asia, freight rates have
remains range bound between $750 - $ 1000 throughout 2022.
Ocean Freight Rates for Atlantic Trade
(Europe ↔ North America East Coast)
Freight rates for the Atlantic trade routes North Europe to North America east coast
remains elevated throughout 2022. As of 31st August, freight rates were $8,346.
Meanwhile for route North America east coast to North Europe, freight rates has dropped
from $756 at the beginning of August 22 to $511 towards the mid of August. However it has
since rallied upwards towards the end of August 22. As of 31st of Aug 22 freight rates were
Freight market outlook
Freight rates have generally eased towards the mid of 2022 due to the cooldown of
consumer spending. However, there are both upwards and downwards pressure in play
with a stronger downwards pressure on freight rates in the near future.
On the upwards pressure, sanctions placed on Russia (which is the 3rd largest producer of
oil and gas) has push oil prices higher and cause a global energy crisis. Should oil prices
rebound again it could lead to more expensive international shipping and less sailing
routes/frequency. This will further exacerbate any imbalance of supply and demand of
Meanwhile in the US, warehouse space remains scarce and rail backlogs are a growing
problem. On top of this labor disputes may further disrupt ground transport which
ultimately will cause fluctuations in transit time for imported and exported goods.
On the other hand, freight rates could face further erosion due to lower demand for
containerized goods owing to higher inventory levels globally. The reduction in global
consumption due to macroeconomic uncertainties and risk of recessions in the US, Europe
and China will also add to the lower demand for containerized goods.
Supply of containers have also improved since the height of the pandemic but is still limited
by the increase of vessel waiting times compared to pre-COVID. The other limitation to
supply of containers is its usage as storage of goods due to the warehouse scarcity in the
As the global freight market continues to find its balance, we foresee that freight rates will
continue to ease due to the threat of economic slowdown, reduction in consumption and
high inventory levels. Although this would be good news for many importers, we do not
think that freight rates will return to pre-COVID levels.