Average eastbound trans-Pacific spot rates fell 1.8 percent this week, as slack seasonal demand further undermined the rate increase that carriers implemented as of Jan. 1.
The Drewry Container Rate Benchmark for average spot rates for shipping a 40-foot equivalent container unit from Hong Kong to Los Angeles fell from last week to $1,771, the second drop so far this year. This week’s benchmark was 0.5 percent lower than the $1,781 per FEU benchmark in the same week last year.
Spot rates on the trans-Pacific, which largely apply to cargo shipped by non-vessel-owning common carriers, account for only about 20 percent of total volume. Most of the freight is shipped at fixed rates negotiated under annual contracts that start in May.
The Drewry benchmark rate had been largely flat this year until two weeks ago when it fell for the first time following the 27.6 percent increase on Jan. 1, when the carriers that belong to the Trans-Pacific Stabilization Agreement put a $400 per FEU rate increase into effect
Last month the 15-member TSA called for a two-tier voluntary general rate increase as of March 15 that could bring the total GRI to $800 per FEU. The TSA recommended a GRI of $300 per FEU and an additional increase of $500 per FEU landed at West Coast ports, and $700 per FEU on intermodal services to interior destinations and on all-water services from Asia to the East Coast.