Shippers on Asia-Europe have never been fans of the host of surcharges levied by carriers on the trade and have routinely levelled complaints that the ad-ons were more boosters of revenue rather than a cost recovery mechanism.
The G6 Alliance continues to add port calls to its Asia-North Europe services, this time in China, in a bid to secure additional cargo loads on the trade during the much hoped for peak season.
The European Union stepped up pressure on the Greek government to levy a higher tonnage tax and end tax breaks for the powerful shipping industry amid growing fears the country is heading for default and an exit from the eurozone.
Cosco, the largest shipping group in China, is back in the corruption spotlight with the National Audit Office issuing a report that accuses the carrier of serious financial irregularities.
Carriers on the Asia-Europe trade held out for as long as they could — or longer than they should, considering the recent rate collapse — but after four months of steadily falling spot market prices, the lines have finally been forced to reduce capacity.
As ships grow larger, so does the challenge of finding a port of refuge where they can secure salvage assistance during emergencies.
Fixing in the container vessel charter market is turning patchier as summer draws near, with hire rates for ships with capacities of 2,500–3,000 twenty-foot equivalent units declining in particular. Rates for gearless 2,700–2,800 TEU ships, which remain popular for the growing intra-Asia trade, continued to erode last week when reports emerged that two vessels had been fixed at a cost of $12,000 a day.
Kattupalli International Container Terminal, an emerging alternative gateway on India’s southeastern coast, last week celebrated the first ship call of the SCI Middle East India Liner Express, or SMILE, an intra-regional service by state-owned carrier Shipping Corporation of India.
Spot rates on the Asia-Europe and Asia-Mediterranean trades more than doubled in anticipation of general rate increases to be imposed next week and as carriers continued to withdraw sailings in a bit to cut back chronic overcapacity.
International Longshoremen’s Association President Harold Daggett said the union won’t halt what the American Trucking Associations contends are illegal inspections of intermodal chassis at East and Gulf coast ports.