Ocean freight rates stable on major east-west trades


Ocean freight rates are stable on the major east-west container shipping trades, according to the latest weekly analysis by Drewry, with Asia-Europe prices up slightly compared with 2017 and transpacific prices down by around 15%, year on year.

The overall World Container Index assessed by Drewry, a composite of container freight rates on eight major routes to and from the US, Europe and Asia, is down by 0.7% to $1,497 per 40ft loaded container in the week to Thursday 22 February, which is $95 lower than the five-year average of $1,567 per 40ft container and down by 2.2% from the same period of 2017.

Spot rates on routes originating from Asia dipped very slightly this week “on account of the Chinese New Year holidays”. Rates on Shanghai-New York fell by $9 to reach $2,825 per feu, down 13% year on year, and Shanghai-Los Angeles slid 1% to $1,486 per feu, 16% below the same week last year. However, the decline in rates on the transpacific route was smaller compared with the drop in the week of the Chinese New Year holidays of 2017, Drewry noted.

On the trunk Asia-Europe trade, rates on Shanghai-Rotterdam fell by $32 to $1,740 for a 40ft box. Meanwhile, rates on Rotterdam-New York stabilised at $2,067 for a 40ft box.

“As a result of these rate changes, the Composite Index inched down by $10 to reach $1,497 per feu this week. We expect a moderate pick-up in rates next week,” Drewry said.