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One of the earlier scenarios for container shipping’s 2023 peak season went like this: Importers would get cocky and keep much of their business in the spot market. Shipping lines would heavily curtail trans-Pacific transport capacity. America’s inventory overhang would evaporate just as holiday imports ramped up. Spot rates would jump and importers without sufficient contract coverage would get caught out.
No one’s really talking about that one anymore.
Inventory destocking has gone on longer than expected. Pressures on consumer demand are building. Trans-Pacific shipping capacity is not down as much as predicted. Spot rates bumped up in mid-April but have eased since and remain extremely weak.
The talk now is more about a moderate peak season at best, roughly in line with pre-COVID levels, with no fireworks.
Read more in an article from American Shipper.