Market Update, Shipping Costs, and Delays

In October 2023, the dynamics of global logistics continue to evolve, impacting inflationary pressures and trade patterns. While extremely elevated logistics costs were a significant contributor to inflation during the pandemic, there have been notable shifts in the market since the spring of 2022.

Ocean freight prices, particularly China-West Coast US rates, have experienced a downward trend, recently reaching pre-pandemic levels. The volumes of imported containers to the US saw a decline through November 2022, and congestion, particularly at key ports like LA/Long Beach, significantly eased, returning to normal levels in late November.

According to current data, the rates for shipping a 40-ft container from Asia to the US West Coast have dropped by over 80% since the end of April 2022. Similarly, prices to the East Coast have fallen by almost two-thirds. One of the main drivers behind this decline in logistics costs is a reduction in consumer spending, which has impacted sales among many importers over the last two years.

Recent data indicates a 5% dip in Asia-US West Coast ocean rates, while Asia-Europe prices are starting to decline this week. The decline in prices during early September, a time when demand typically increases in anticipation of China’s early October Golden Week holiday, may suggest that demand is easing, and the peak ocean freight season for the year may have already passed.

Putting Products Closer to Customers

Businesses should consider putting their products closer to customers in order to reduce their shipping costs. This can be done by setting up warehouses or distribution centers near major customer markets or by using third-party logistics services that specialize in last-mile delivery. Doing so can help reduce transit times and lower overall shipping costs.

Reducing the Weight of Packages

Another way businesses can reduce their shipping costs is by reducing the weight of packages they send out. This can be done by using lighter packaging materials or by consolidating multiple orders into one package. Doing so can help reduce the amount of time it takes for packages to reach their destination, resulting in lower overall shipping costs.

FedEx Freight Shipping Changes

Businesses should also be aware of changes that have been made to FedEx Freight Shipping services. These changes include new flat-rate pricing options as well as increased discounts for certain types of shipments. Understanding these changes can help businesses save money on their freight shipments.

Flat-Rate Shipping Solutions

Finally, businesses should consider utilizing flat-rate shipping solutions when sending out packages. Flat-rate shipping allows businesses to pay a fixed rate regardless of package size or weight, which can lead to significant savings on larger shipments. Additionally, flat-rate shipping options often come with added benefits such as free insurance coverage and faster transit times than traditional methods of shipment.

Robert Baker, aka Swagman has been an official member with PPAI [Professional Products Association International] since 2013 and regularly attends the annual PPAI Expo to meet with established vendors, discover new products and learn about evolving industry standards. Swagman Vegas is a brand managed by North Star Multimedia.