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Ocean Shipping Costs Mark Biggest Decline in 2 Years

By NAM News Room

The price of shipping a container across the Pacific Ocean fell by more than a quarter in the past week, marking the largest decline in two years—but experts say the shipping logjam at U.S. ports will still be with us for months, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

The basics: The cost of shipping a container from China to the West Coast of the United States fell by 26% to $13,295, according to the Freightos Baltic Index. While this is a drop from earlier this summer, it’s still three times higher than the price at the beginning of this year: $4,200. 

Why it’s happening: We’re at the tail end of the busiest shipping season, which begins in August as importers start stocking up on goods for the holidays. Now, most of those soon-to-be presents are well on their way if not yet arrived, lessening the pressure at the front end of the supply chain. 

No relief at ports: Reduced prices aren’t expected to free up the backlog of ships waiting to be unloaded at ports anytime soon. There are about 80 box ships at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports waiting to be unloaded.

  • “Everything from Christmas trees to electronics and heavy machinery are still waiting for weeks to unload at big gateways like Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif. Shipping executives say they don’t expect the traffic to ease until February at the earliest.”
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