Average Asia-Europe spot rates fell this week, the fifth consecutive week of decline, plunging 12 percent, or $350 per loaded 40-foot-unit container, as European demand was slowed by recession and vessel utilization rates dropped.
The World Container Index of spot prices in the trade from Shanghai to Rotterdam, compiled by Drewry and the Cleartrade Exchange in Singapore, fell $190 on Aug. 16, or 5.6 percent from the previous week, to $2,578 per laden FEU.
The WCI has dropped 26 percent from the level of $3,521 it reached on July 5, when carriers put general rate increases into effect ranging between $400 and $500 per 20-foot-equivalent unit.
Spot rates declined again this week even as some Asia-Europe carriers intensified efforts to limit capacity. The G6 Alliance between carriers in the Grand Alliance and the New World Alliance suspended one of its Asia-Europe services because of “the forecast lack of improvement“ in the trade, in a move rival lines will likely follow in the coming weeks.
The WCI has now fallen by a third from its high for the year, $3,878 per FEU, which it reached on May 3. Nevertheless, carriers have still been able to hold on to most of the four general rates increases they have implemented in the Asia-Europe trade this year.
This week’s index is 109 percent higher than the WCI of $1,230 per FEU on Jan. 5. It is also 72.6 percent higher than the index of $1,494 per FEU in the same week last year.