Home » Aviation, Breaking News, Maritime » East-West sea and air rates take opposite routes

Ocean freight rates on the key East-West trades registered marginal increases in January 2013, but airfreight rates for the month went in the opposite direction, according to Drewry Maritime Research’s monthly Sea & Air Shipper Insight.

Drewry’s East-West Freight Rate Index, a weighted average of container rates across Asia-Europe, trans-Pacific, and trans-Atlantic trade routes, rose by 2.6 percent in January to reach its highest level since August 2012.

The increase was due to “a combination of a seasonal volume boost prior to Chinese New Year and capacity cutbacks in the form of blank voyages,” Drewry said.

But Drewry’s East-West Air Freight Price Index tumbled by 10.5 points from December, the largest monthly decline in the index since its launch in May 2012. The plunge was traced to traffic adjustments after the holiday peak season.

The air index was weighed down by weaker pricing on Asia-origin trades to both North America and Europe as well as falling eastbound trans-Atlantic rates, Drewry noted.

“Airlines reported stronger demand in early February, which is likely to have lifted rates, but this momentum will have stalled through the remainder of the month with the onset of the Asian holiday season,” said Simon Heaney, research manager at Drewry.

Drewry expects East-West ocean rates to weaken post-Lunar New Year season, when a number of suspended Asia-Europe services return and reduce average ship utilization.


Photo: ZapTheDingbat

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