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Container prices decline in India amidst global disruptions

Avg price of a 40 ft HC container in Chennai was $5,127 in mid-Jan 2022, which was down 16% to $4,297 on April 18, 2022.

Container prices decline in India amidst global disruptions
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Photo by Paul Teysen on Unsplash

There has been a general decline in average prices of 20 ft DC and 40 ft HC standard shipping containers across the ports of Chennai, Nhava Sheva and Mundra from Mid-January 2022 till date after having peaked in August-September 2021. The prices, however, are much higher than January 2021 (40 percent higher in Chennai, 36 percent higher in Nhava Sheva and 36 percent higher in Mundra for 40 ft HC containers), according to the latest analysis by Container xChange.

The average price of a 40 ft HC container in Chennai was $5,127 in mid-January 2022, which was down to $4,297 on April 18, 2022, a drop of 16 percent.




"The average prices have increased 41 percent from $1,341 on January 1 2021 to $2,269 as on April 23, 2022 at Nhava Sheva for 20 ft DC cargo worthy container, '' the report said.

Another key finding is the rise in Container Availability Index (CAx) values from week 14 (April 4 till date). A CAx value of 0.5 means that the same number of containers leave and enter a port in the same week. CAx values of > 0.5 means that more containers enter and CAx values of < 0.5 means more containers leave a specific port.

The CAx at Nhava Sheva, for example, has been in the range of 0.75-0.82 for the first four months of 2022, and was last recorded at 0.81.


CAx values rising also means that there is a problem of containers piling up or there is an increase in blank sailings or carriers missing calls at the Indian ports while the containers that are transported are not moving out back at the same speed.

"This has an explanation that corroborates well with the macro-economic factors," says Christian Roeloffs, Founder and CEO, Container xChange. "The Colombo crisis has led to more transshipment containers being directed to the east coast ports in India. The crisis in Colombo, a major transhipment hub for Indian cargo, has led to more traffic of containers at the Indian ports. For India to leverage the opportunities presented by the global supply chain dysfunction, it is important to improve the cargo handling capabilities at the ports, build stronger hinterland transportation and bring down the logistical costs. It is very encouraging to see that the average turnaround time for container vessels at major ports has improved which will benefit trade in times to come."

The average median time spent in Indian depots in 2021 was 22 days while it was just 5 days in China, according to a study by Container xChange and Fraunhofer–CML, one of the world's leading applied research organisations. "This is one of the many bottlenecks that shippers face when exporting cargo-filled containers from India."

Jyothi Shankaran

Jyothi Shankaran

Associate Editor, STAT Media Group. He has worked with IndiaSpend, Bloomberg TV, Business Standard and Indian Express Group. Jyothi can be reached at jyothi@statmediagroup.com


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