Average spot rates on the Asia-Europe trade lane increased this week for the fourth week in a row, as European importers rushed to secure vessel capacity before the week-long factory shutdown in Asia.
The World Container Index of rates for shipping a 40-foot equivalent container unit from Shanghai to Rotterdam climbed 8.5 percent from the first week of the New Year to $1,335, up $105 week-over-week. Capacity has been tightening in recent weeks in advance of the Lunar New Year Celebrations in East Asia, which begin Jan. 23.
This week’s index rate is 53.6 percent higher than last year’s low of $869 per FEU that was recorded in the first week of December.
The increase in Asia-Europe rates mirrors the increase in the Drewry benchmark rate for the trans-Pacific, which increased in the first week of the New Year and held firm this week in the face of continuing overcapacity.
The WCI, a joint venture between Drewry Shipping Consultants and the Cleartrade Exchange in Singapore, publishes container freight rate indexes on 11 east-west trade routes.
The WCI for Shanghai to Rotterdam excludes terminal handling charges. It is designed as a pricing mechanism for the settlement of derivative trades and hedging and can also be used as a reference point for index-based contracts.