Container logistics scenario for September 2021: An insight


(Image Courtesy: Container xChange)

Shipping rates are a major component of trade costs, so a new hike poses an additional challenge to the world economy. Container rates have a particular impact on global trade, since almost all manufactured goods – including clothes, medicines and processed food products – are shipped in containers.

Neutral online platform Container xChange has been consistently supplying actionable insights, relevant data and analysis on shipping and container logistics. The company has introduced a monthly update which offers inputs on trends seen at the global and the regional level in the industry. The update brings insights from the platform data and the Container Availability Index.

Container Availability Index (CAx): The Container Availability Index monitors and forecasts global container equipment supply by tracking millions of monthly container moves. In Container xChange’s Container Availability Index (CAx) an index reading of below 0.5 means more containers leave a port compared to the number which enter. Above 0.5 means more containers are entering the port.

“We begin with the month of September to bring you the insights ahead of the holiday season and marks the busiest time for the shipping and container logistics industry,” Container xChange stated while sharing its report for September.

Global trends:

The highest CAx values, exceeding 0.90 which implies that the outbound containers are lesser than the inbound containers in a particular port at a particular week (Week 40)

  1. Huangpu, China
  2. Dallas, TX, United states
  3. Chicago, United states
  4. Chittagong, Bangladesh
  5. Dammam, Saudi Arabia
  6. Memphis, TN, United states
  7. Sines, Portugal
  8. Bangkok, Thailand
  9. Felixtowe, UK
  10. Savannah, GA, USA

The lowest CAx values in September are the following from across the ports globally, because These ports have been exporting a large number of containers for a prolonged period:

  1. Ningbo, China
  2. Shekou, China
  3. Yantian, China
  4. Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia
  5. Algeciras, Spain

The most expensive average Pickup charges for one-way container leasing are being faced in China (ranging $2000 to $4500) which indicates the ever-growing difficulties exporters are facing to ship the box from China to be able to make it for the Christmas shopping season. 

Europe’s Container Availability Index values surpass China again. After a fall in container availability in week 36, the availability is again increasing. A trend that’s estimated to continue upwards in the coming weeks. The pressure on the Northern European ports, such as Hamburg, Antwerp, and Rotterdam, is now so high, that the container availability has exceeded the availability at the Chinese ports. Whereas the Chinese ports currently have an average value of 0.59 in the CAx, Northern Europe’s average is 0.74.

(Image Courtesy: Container xChange)

Trading Insights – See below a list of the most expensive and cheapest containers available on our trading marketplace in September.

(Image Courtesy: Container xChange)

Leasing insights – See below a list of the locations with the highest/lowest pickup charges and free-days on our container leasing platform in September. Pickup charges and free-days heavily depend not only on the pickup but also the drop-off location.

(Image Courtesy: Container xChange)

Regional Updates


The port of Shanghai continues to show congestion, as the CAx (container availability index) shows higher values consistently (double to what it was in 2019, pre-pandemic, 0.56 in 2021, 0.48 in 2020, 0.33 in 2019). Most carriers now try to add capacity ex China to the US to make more money. 

The average price of a 20 ft dry container has dropped at the Ningbo port (trading data insights – from $2860 in August to $2631 in September), while in Shanghai the average container prices for the 20 ft dry containers have surged from $2631 in August to $3161 in September)

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