Average spot rates on the westbound Asia-Europe trade spiked 19 percent on May 3, an increase of $629 per 40-foot container, which means that carriers got most of the general rate increases they implemented on May 1.
The World Container Index of spot prices on the trade from Shanghai to Rotterdam, which is compiled by Drewry and the Cleartrade Exchange in Singapore, increased to $3,378 per 40-foot equivalent unit from $3,249 per FEU on April 26.
Carriers in the key Asia-Europe head-haul trade had announced GRIs of about $400 per TEU (or $800 per FEU) as of May 1.
The index shows carriers were able to enforce the majority of the requested price increases that Bimco says are lifting them back to profitability in that trade.
The rise in Asia-to-Europe spot rates represents the third large rate increase in as many months, adding further upward pricing pressure on shippers. But Drewry expects spot prices to ease as weakening vessel utilization impacts the sustainability of current rate levels.
“Tighter capacity has enabled lines to press ahead with aggressive rate restoration programs,” Drewry’s freight rate research manager Martin Dixon said.
But Dixon said the rally in rates may be losing steam. “We do not expect Asia-to-Europe freight rates to increase further. Some carriers are already offering pricing reductions on cargo bookings for later in the month, indicating that the market may now have peaked.”