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How To Prepare Your Business For Potential Ocean Shipping Rate Increases In 2023

It's difficult to predict with certainty whether ocean freight rates will increase in 2023, as they are subject to various market forces and fluctuations. However, there are several factors that suggest the possibility of rate increases due but not limited to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, strikes in the West, lockdowns in China, rising interest rates, and new trade policies., which may result to increased demand for shipping services, equipment shortages, fuel costs, labour costs, and port congestion. While the global economy is expected to recover in the coming years, it's possible that these disruptions could persist, leading to increased shipping rates.

Ultimately, the future of ocean freight rates in 2023 will depend on various economic and industry-specific factors, and it's difficult to predict with certainty what will happen. However, companies can take steps to prepare for potential rate increases and mitigate their impact on their supply chain by diversifying shipping methods, negotiating contracts, optimizing packaging, and monitoring market conditions.

Reasons Why Ocean Shipping Rates May Increase This Year:

There are several reasons why ocean shipping rates may increase in 2023. Here are five possible reasons:

  1. Increased Demand: As the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for goods is expected to rise. More goods needing to be shipped will increase demand for shipping services, leading to higher shipping rates.

  2. Equipment Shortages: There is currently a shortage of shipping containers and vessels worldwide, which is causing delays and increasing costs. This shortage is expected to continue into 2023, leading to higher shipping rates.

  3. Fuel Costs: Fuel costs are a significant expense for shipping companies, and any increase in oil prices can lead to higher shipping rates. As the global economy recovers, demand for oil is expected to rise, potentially increasing fuel costs.

  4. Labor Costs: Labor costs, including wages and benefits for seafarers, can also impact shipping rates. In some regions, labor shortages and rising wages are increasing costs for shipping companies.

  5. Port Congestion: Ports around the world are facing congestion due to increased demand for shipping services. Congestion can cause delays, increase costs, and result in higher shipping rates.

These factors are all interrelated and can have a compounding effect on shipping rates. While it's impossible to predict exactly how shipping rates will change in 2023, it's likely that they will increase. Companies that rely on ocean shipping should plan accordingly and consider alternative shipping methods, negotiate contracts, and optimize their packaging to reduce shipping costs.


To prepare for possible ocean shipping rate increases in 2023, companies can take several steps to mitigate the impact on their business. Here are some actions to consider:

  1. Diversify Shipping Methods: Consider alternative shipping methods, such as air freight or rail, to reduce reliance on ocean shipping. This can help mitigate the impact of potential rate increases and minimize disruption to your supply chain.

  2. Plan Ahead: Book shipping services well in advance to secure space and avoid potential price spikes. This can help you avoid higher rates due to last-minute bookings or capacity constraints.

  3. Negotiate Contracts: Consider negotiating long-term contracts with shipping companies to lock in prices and reduce the impact of potential rate increases. This can provide greater stability and predictability for your supply chain costs.

  4. Optimise Packaging: Optimise your packaging to reduce the size and weight of your goods. This can help lower your shipping costs and make your shipments more cost-effective.

  5. Explore Cost-Sharing: Collaborate with other companies to share shipping costs. This can help reduce overall expenses and minimize the impact of potential rate increases.

  6. Monitor Market Conditions: Keep a close eye on market conditions and be prepared to adjust your shipping strategy as needed. Stay informed about industry trends, such as changes in demand, fuel prices, labor costs, and port congestion, which can impact shipping rates.

These steps can help companies minimize the impact of potential ocean shipping rate increases in 2023 and ensure that their supply chain remains competitive and resilient.

Preparing for possible ocean shipping rate increases in 2023 can provide several benefits for companies, including:

  • Cost Savings: By preparing for potential rate increases, companies can identify ways to optimize their shipping processes and reduce costs. This can lead to significant savings in the long run.

  • Improved Planning: By planning ahead and booking shipping services in advance, companies can reduce the risk of delays and ensure timely delivery of goods. This can help improve planning and forecasting for the business.

  • Competitive Advantage: By diversifying shipping methods, negotiating contracts, and optimizing packaging, companies can reduce their overall shipping costs and become more competitive in the marketplace.

  • Supply Chain Resilience: By monitoring market conditions and adjusting their shipping strategy as needed, companies can ensure their supply chain remains resilient and can adapt to changing market conditions.

  • Better Customer Service: By ensuring timely delivery of goods, companies can provide better customer service and improve their reputation with customers.

Overall, preparing for potential ocean shipping rate increases in 2023 can help companies reduce costs, improve planning, and become more competitive in the marketplace. It can also help companies improve their supply chain resilience and provide better customer service, which can lead to long-term business success. Call Image International Freight today if you would like to discuss your current logistics arrangements and organise a complimentary logistics health check for your business with our team, +61 2 9773 1378 or email


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