LATEST figures from London-based Container Trade Statistics show global volumes grew to around 15, 560,078 TEU in March 2024, a steep rise from February’s 13,396,864 TEU and confirming first quarter recovery reports from leading container carriers.

But the price index again fell, to 85 in March, from 89 in February and 88 in January.

For Australasia & Oceania export volumes continued the steady rise seen since January, reaching 277,233 TEU in March compared to 234,337 in February and 206,191 in January. This year is also well up on last March’s 246,176 TEU.

CTS’s graph shows 2023 exports were largely stable April-August before dropping September through December and falling again in January 2024.

Imports for March 2024were also up, to 361,330 TEU. This compares to 327,359 TEU in February and 357,643 in January. March 2023 saw 329, 745 TEU, so this year’s looking much rosier for imports too.

Again, graphed 2023 monthly totals by CTS show imports rose steadily from May to a peak in September, with another, lesser peak in December.

According to CTS outbound rates continued to slip in March.

Australasia/Oceania to Europe slipped 9.7 % year-on-year in March, 1.3% in February and 19.2% in January.

Australasia/Oceania to the Middle East & ISC was down 39.3% y-o-y in March, 44.5% in February and 59.1% in January.

To the Far East (CTS does not distinguish between N&E Asia and SE Asia) rates were down 38.4% y-o-y in March 2024, 40.2% in February and 34% in January.

In the North American trade northbound rates were down 19.9% in March, 37.8% in February and 34.4% in January.

For imports, the picture was no prettier for lines.

Southbound from Europe rates were off 36.5% y-o-y in March 2024, 42.2% in February and 46.5% in January.

Middle East and ISC southbound were down 40.3%, 28.9% and 52.4% y-o-y, while from North America it was more gloomy news for carriers, with falls of 42.1%, 33.7% and 40.8% y-o-y.

Intra-Australasia/Oceania fell 30.3% y-o-y in March, 32.8% in February and 36.6% in January.

The rates declines, coupled with rising volumes, show why carriers are beginning to pursue increases across several trades.

As always, CTS cautions that figures are preliminary and may be adjusted following the receipt of additional information.