As less freight is shipped worldwide, rates are falling

DAVOS, Switzerland: In an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, DP World’s chief financial officer Yuvraj Narayan said the Dubai-based logistics company expects freight costs to drop by a further 15 to 20 percent in 2023, and the worst is still to come as demand further declines.

As agencies, such as the International Monetary Fund, lowered growth forecasts, the first signs of a significant drop in demand were clear to see, as freight rates on the shipping side had declined considerably on certain routes, he added.

"It is clear that there is a massive drop in demand, inventories are not clearing up, and the orders are not coming through. We have not seen the worst of it yet," Narayan added.

China, Europe and the US, as the world’s largest producing and consuming economies, are the main problems, he added, stressing that various shipping rates have witnessed significant declines of anywhere between 20 and 50 percent from their peaks in 2022.

There were three overriding factors driving this issue, which are disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation in Europe due to the energy price surge, and severe disruptions to global supply chains, which persist as a result of the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, Narayan said.