Asia-Europe container freight spot rates jump $60

7/31/2012

Spot rates for containerised freight departing China for Northern Europe ticked up on Friday ahead of this week’s round of General Rate Increases (GRIs), which container lines have pencilled in for 1 August.

The increase, measured as part of the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) represents an increase of US$60 per teu, although some market commentators have pointed to the lackluster performance of previous GRIs and suggest that carriers will struggle to raise rates.

Before Friday’s spot rate development, the July GRI had been almost completely eroded.

Ben Gibson, a Container Rate Derivatives Broker at Clarkson Securities, commented: “Against the weight of popular opinion, the SCFI Europe route registered a small gain to reflect the upcoming August 1st GRI. Unfortunately for the shipping lines, this is well below the $250 that most were aiming for and although we are not yet into August the pattern of GRI traction as per the index has seen the first move provide the largest gain.

“If this pattern holds, there will be a smaller, marginal gain next week followed by erosion of any gain.”

Overall, the SCFI registered a marginal fall of $0.37 to $1,327.08 but that was supported by the $61 rise in European spot rates to $1,728. Almost every other major trade route registered a decline in rates, notably the China to US West Coast and US East Coast lanes which fell by $21 and $46 respectively.

ACM/GFI Broker, Cherry Wang, said: “For every successful rate increase on the SCFI year-to-date it is worth highlighting that each single rate increase has been preceded by at least two weeks of rate declines, which suggests that on fundamentals alone, the rate increases would have unlikely to have gone through.

“It is also interesting to note that last week’s rate level of $1,667 was at a similar level to the one seen at the start of June, $1,666, when carriers failed to push through a Peak Season Surcharge given that capacity far outstripped demand.”