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Freight rates registered their 11th consecutive weekly fall to reach a 7 month low, with weakness across all tradelanes out of China, with the sharpest falls on the Europe, South America, Australia and Middle East routes. The newly announced lockdowns in Shanghai will further dampen export demand out of China. Charter rates have finally broken their 4 month rising trajectory as carriers re-assess their tonnage requirements in the face of weakening demand.

Port congestion rose to reach an all time high last week, with a further increase expected in the coming week as no improvements are expected in the China and European port congestion situation. Unlike last year, the rising congestion has not been enough to push up freight rates in the face of weak demand.

Total containership capacity caught up in worsening port congestion globally has exceeded 14% of the fleet for the first time last week, with further increases expected as Chinese authorities have announced a lockdown in Shanghai in 2 stages over a 9 day period from 28 March to 5 April. Despite this, freight rates are expected to weaken further, as Chinese factory output have also been affected with vessel capacity utilization levels still too low to reverse the rate declines that have been observed since January.

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