Asia-Europe box rates make second large surge


Container freight rates in the westbound Asia-Europe corridor increased by 28 percent last week, only one month after the previous large rate increases, according to the World Container Index (WCI).

The Shanghai-Rotterdam container freight rate sub-index went from $2,654 per 40-foot equivalent unit (FEU) of container on March 29 to $3,408 per FEU on April 5, a rise of $754 per FEU.

Carriers in the key Asia-Europe headhaul trade had announced general rate increases (GRIs) of about $400 per 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU), or $800 per FEU, from April 1.

The index showed that carriers were able to enforce the vast majority of the requested price increase, Drewry said in a press statement.

“This week’s rate increase results not only from the reduction in Asia-Europe operated capacities, but also from the new carrier behavior of announcing and sticking to large rate increases,” said Philip Damas, director of Drewry Supply Chain Advisors.

He added: “Looking ahead, we must question how sustainable these high Asia-to-Europe freight rates are, given the latent capacity currently parked by carriers and tramp owners, and given the expectation of deliveries of large new ships from the shipyards.”

The WCI is a joint venture between research and consultancy specialist Drewry and Cleartrade Exchange, the electronic marketplace for OTC freight and commodity swaps. It is a weekly container pricing index based on actual agreed freight assessments reported by industry players in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.