Westbound Asia-to-Europe spot rates eased slightly this week, but held on to most of the 28 percent jump in pricing in the first week of April.
The spot rate on the lane from Shanghai to Rotterdam dropped to $3,392 per 40-foot container on April 12, down $16 per FEU, or 0.5 percent from a week earlier, according to the World Container Index, a joint venture between Drewry and the Cleartrade Exchange.
This week’s WCI is 80.2 percent above the $1,882-per-FEU level in the same week last year.
Carriers have maintained their discipline in holding on to April 1 general rate increases of about $400 per 20-foot equivalent unit or $800 per 40-foot container. Those increases came just a month after their last GRI on March 1, and have helped return carriers on the trade to profitability, according to the latest Bimco Shipping Market Overview.
But Drewry questions whether carriers will be able to hold onto the rate increases. “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,” said Philip Damas, director of Drewry Supply Chain Advisors.