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Carrier response differs on ending rate slide in slack season

THE Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI) went up five per cent last Friday to US$729 per TEU demonstrating that Asia-Europe spot rates can rise even in a slack season of massive overcapacity.

There is confusion on demand prospects for December and January, with one carrier source telling London's Loadstar that Asia-Europe ships were "running full" while another said carriers were "grabbing anything at any price".

Meanwhile, Drewry Maritime Research said this week spot rates on the route "remained weak on softening demand" while noting that year-on-year rates were 21 per cent lower.

Elsewhere, recording no change in rates this week from Asia to North Europe at $1,100 per FEU, said Platts Global, noting that carriers had not yet blanked winter sailings.

Fresh transpacific rate increases boosted spot rates last week from Asia to the US, which rose 7.3 per cent to $1,177 per FEU on the SCFI.

US east coast rates enjoyed a 13.1 per cent increase on the week to $1,901 following reports of robust demand.

Transpacific carriers will be keen to hold onto these gains and add more GRIs in the first quarter of next year ahead of the traditional annual contract talks in April/May.

One carrier said there were "encouraging signs for forward bookings in January from Asia for both Europe and the US ahead of the Chinese New Year factory shutdowns.

The Chinese New Year (Year of the Dog) starts February 16, a year of loyalty and honesty. People born in the Year of the Dog are honest, friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward, venerable and have a strong sense of responsibility.
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