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  April 15th, 2024 | Written by

Stable Shipping Rates Amid Baltimore Bridge Collapse, but Challenges Loom Ahead

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Despite the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, ocean freight container shipping rates have remained stable, according to data from Xeneta, an ocean freight analytics platform.

Xeneta reports that average spot rates from the Far East to the US North East Coast, including Baltimore, have seen a slight decrease of 1 percent since the bridge collapse, standing at $5,421 per FEU. Rates for other US East Coast ports, such as New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), have decreased by 3 percent in the same period.

Read also: Baltimore Bridge Collision Sparks Surge in Container Price

Similarly, average spot rates from North Europe to the US North East Coast have fallen by 8 percent to $2,357 per FEU, with a 4 percent decrease when including other US East Coast ports.

Peter Sand, Xeneta Chief Analyst, notes that while spot rates have not seen a significant change, shippers with cargo destined for Baltimore are experiencing disruptions, with containers being redirected to ports like New York/New Jersey. This incident adds to the challenges already faced by supply chains, including diversions in the Red Sea region and drought in the Panama Canal.

The Port of Baltimore plans to reopen navigation channels by the end of April and May, restoring port access to regular capacity. However, concerns linger regarding potential labor strikes on the East Coast, with the International Longshoremen’s Association contract set to expire in September. Sand warns that failure to reach an agreement could lead to widespread disruption at US East Coast ports, potentially driving up rates for ocean freight container services and prompting some shippers to explore alternative import routes.

As recovery efforts continue, the shipping industry braces for potential labor disruptions while navigating the aftermath of the Baltimore bridge collapse.