The Shanghai Container Freight Index of spot rates tumbled this week to a record low, led by a 6.5 plunge to $573 per 40-foor-equivalent unit for Asia-to-Europe shipments.
The SCFI’s overall index of major routes fell 2.3 percent to 898.18 after a 1.4 percent drop the previous week.
The index of rates from China to the U.S. West Coast fell 1.3 percent to $1,481, and is off more than 30 percent from its year-ago levels. The index of trans-Pacific rates had risen 0.4 percent last week.
By the Numbers: Shanghai Containerized Freight Index
The SCFI said this week’s index confirmed its view that the short-lived rise in West Coast rates “was no more than a dead cat’s bounce.”
Rates fell on all of the index’s major routes from China. Rates to the Mediterranean fell 6.6 percent to $856. Rates to the U.S. East Coast fell 3 percent to $2,709.
Asia-Europe routes are being battered by an influx of new container ships that are too large to operate anywhere else. Many of these ships are being pushed into lower-volume routes, depressing rates in those trades.
Shanghai export average spot rates for the following trade lanes are among the 15 component trade lanes in the weekly SCFI-Containerized Freight Index, and they weigh 57.5 percent of the SCFI comprehensive reading.
London-based Drewry Maritime Research said this week that global container freight rates fell for the fourth straight month in September and are down 35 percent in the last 12 months.
Drewry’s Global Freight Rate Index, which excludes intra-Asia services, fell 12 percent amid continuing weakness on east-west lanes, particularly Asia-Europe, and the cascading of tonnage onto faster-growing markets in developing countries.