The VCFI is the index created by the Port Authority of Valencia to reflect the evolution of the market rates for the export of full containers by sea from Valenciaport. VCFI stands for Valencia Containerised Freight Index. This index will serve shippers as a tool to predict the evolution of freight rates within their markets of interest, which is a key determinant of the cost of their export operations. On the other hand, it will also be useful for operators that offer such services, providing a benchmark for the evolution of their own freight rates and those on the market.


The Valencia Containerised Freight Index (VCFI) for recorded a new drop in April, down 9.28% on the previous month. In March, the index stood at 2,198.07 points, with an accumulated increase of 119.81% since the beginning of the historical series in January 2018. The downward trend is common across all regions analysed by the Index, but particularly notable in Central America and the Caribbean (-33.74%), the Indian Subcontinent (-29.62%) and Africa West Coast (-26.44%). In terms of the areas where Valenciaport primarily operates, the Western Mediterranean VCFI fell 9.82%, while the Far East recorded a fall-off of 7.12%.

Turning to the global economic situation, the environment continues to be marked by the impact of the war in Ukraine, inflation and turmoil in financial markets, which remain a reality, as indicated in the latest reports of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Along these lines, the estimates of the European Central Bank (ECB) indicate an upturn in inflation in the Eurozone with respect to forecast levels, while underlying inflation seems to be running out of steam.

According to the data provided by the consultancy firm Xeneta, both imports and exports have fallen for the main markets over the last month. In Europe, foreign sales have fallen 9.1% and imports 19.5%. In the United States the, the biggest fall-off was in exports, at 18.9%, while the overall sum of goods and services purchased in this zone fell 1.5%. With regard to the Far East market, exports also fell, down -10% on the previous month, the lowest level recorded since 2022. Imports, meanwhile, were down 15.5%.

Port traffic remains weakened due to the fall-off in international trade. According to the latest reading of the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index, container traffic continues to weaken, especially at European ports – a downward trend that has been felt since mid-2021. China is the only region where activity remains stable.

With respect to the supply of containers, the data from consultancy firm Alphaliner show that the idle fleet has fallen compared to the previous month. On 24 April, 89 idle vessels were counted for a total of 378,708 TEU (228,235 TEU less than the last figure on 27 March), representing 1.4% of the total active fleet.

Congestion levels at the world’s ports remain on a downward trajectory, although the situation has not yet reached complete normalisation. Reports form the Linerlytica platform show congestion in April at 52 vessels at anchorage, for a total of 1,698,742 TEU, representing 8.7% of the total active container fleet. The port with the worst bottleneck was Shanghai/Ningbo, with 399,862 TEU at anchorage, followed by Quingdao with 191,419 TEU. In the US port system, the most congested port in April was Savannah, with a total of 28,422 TEU, while in Europe that dubious honour went to the port of Rotterdam, the most affected with 33,384 TEU.

In the energy and raw materials market, there was an increase of 8.05% in the average price of the barrel of Brent crude, from $78.43 in March to $84.74 in April. Along similar lines, the value of bunkering (refuelling of vessels at sea) for the 20 principal ports in the world, and specifically VLSFO (Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil) rose by 1.32%. In concrete terms, the figure rose from $628.03 in March to $628.03 in April, according to the data offered by Ship&Bunker.

VCFI Western Mediterranean

Turning now to the Western Mediterranean sub-index, after the increase in the month of March, we once again observed a fall off at -9.82%. The VCFI for this region now stands at 1,817.37 points, with accumulated growth of 81.74% since the series began in 2018.

The volume of exports from Valenciaport to Morocco and Tunisia, the main trading partners in this area, has recently increased. Meanwhile, export traffic to Algeria remains at minimum levels, given the geopolitical issues that continue to affect the area, going back some months now.

VCFI Far East

Traffic with the Far East fell again for the third consecutive month. In April, the Index fell 7.12% on the previous month to 1,817.33 points, reflecting accumulated growth of 81.73% since the start of the series in January 2018. In this market, it must be pointed out that the level of exports from Valenciaport to China, the main trading partner, have fallen slightly.