According to Alphaliner, Lockdown in China affects cargo demand as with only Evergreen and MSC receiving new builds of 24,000+ teu (megamax) vessels later this year, additional containerized fleet growth for the Asia-Europe section is limited.
Additional capacity is not currently needed as cargo demand in China has decreased following lockdowns in Shanghai and elsewhere in the country. The port of Shanghai has remained fully operational, but factory closures and strict regulations for trucking between inland and port terminals have caused export volumes to drop in recent weeks.
Some carriers have begun to cancel trips due to lower cargo volumes and not due to delays in ships arriving from Europe.
Lower cargo demand will put further pressure on spot freight rates, which for Shanghai – Northern Europe fell slightly below the $12,000 FEU level last week according to the Shanghai Container Freight Index (SCFI), below a high of $15,600 on January 14, says Alphaliner
It is quite common for spot freight rates to be falling in the lull after Chinese New Year and before the start of the peak season, but prolonged lockdowns could see rates drop more than the 30% reduction since the mid of January 2022.
However, Alphaliner adds that spot freight rates are still 29% higher than at the end of April 2021 and should in fact be compared to the pre-COVID level of $2,000 at the end of January 2020, when the first lockdown was announced in Wuhan.