Ocean carriers are preparing a fresh round of rate hikes on the Asia-Europe trade, taking advantage of stronger-than-expected cargo growth and a resilient spot market to move out of the red.
CMA CGM became the latest carrier to raise rates for the third straight month following the success of hikes in April and March with an “emergency” rate restoration of $385 per 20-foot container from Asia to Europe and the Mediterranean on May 1.
This followed an earlier $450 hike by OOCL effective May 1 that followed a similar increase by the Hong Kong-based carrier on April 1.
Carriers also are continuing to push up rates on the smaller eastbound leg after market leader Maersk Line suspended Europe-to-Asia bookings on March 23 in order clear up a backlog of containers.
CMA CGM plans to raise rates from North Europe to Asia and to Red Sea/Middle East ports by $100 per dry container from May 1. This will be accompanied by a $200 per container peak season surcharge, effective today, from North Europe to the Red Sea/Arabian Gulf.
Maersk said it expects further rate increases through 2012 following its two hikes since the beginning of the year. The carrier has achieved an increase of about $1,000 per 20 foot equivalent unit from rate hikes of $750 per TEU in March and $400 per TEU in April, according to Michael Pram Rasmussen, chairman of the parent company A.P. Moller-Maersk.
“This is not done, there will be more,” Rasmussen told the annual shareholders meeting last week.
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