East-west ocean freight rates see further modest declines


Container rates on the main east-west trades saw further modest declines over the last week, according to the latest figures from the World Container Index assessed by Drewry.

The composite of container freight rates on eight major routes to and from the US, Europe, and Asia was down by 0.5% to $1,464 per 40ft container in the week to Thursday 15 June, following small falls in pricing on Asia-Europe trades and slightly larger declines in spot rates on the transpacific.

Average spot rates on the Shanghai-Rotterdam route fell by around 1.5% or $27 during the week to reach $1,712 for a 40ft box. That followed a 2% increase in the week leading up to 1 June general rate increases (GRIs) and a 3% fall last week to $1,739 for a 40ft box.

Meanwhile, rates on the Transpacific trade declined more significantly as GRIs at the start of the month failed to hold firm, as forecast last wee by Drewry. After rising the previous week by $33 per 40ft box, spot rates from Shanghai to New York fell almost 5% during the week, losing an average of $112 per feu to reach $2,202 for a 40ft box. 

And after rising the previous week by $84 per feu, average spot rates from Shanghai to Los Angeles plummeted during the past week by almost 7% or $95 to $1,282 per feu.

Although the composite index is down by 0.5% this week, it remains around 44% higher than the same period in 2016. And for the year-to-date, the average composite index of the WCI, assessed by Drewry, is US$1,566 per 40ft container, which is $122 lower than the five-year average of $1,688 per feu but also 44% higher than the same period a year ago.