Average spot rates on the eastbound trans-Pacific trade fell by 3.7 percent this week after six weeks with no change, suggesting that carriers’ bid to collect a peak-season surcharge starting June 10 may have trouble taking hold.
The Drewry benchmark rate for shipping a 40-foot container from Hong Kong to Los Angeles dropped to $2,250 this week from the level of $2,337 per FEU that had held steady since the week of April 23. In that week, the benchmark eased slightly after carriers implemented a general rate increase of $400 per FEU recommended by the Trans-Pacific Stabilization Agreement.
This week’s benchmark rate is 26.8 percent higher than the same week a year ago, when it averaged $1,775 per FEU. It is also 56.7 percent higher than it was in the last week of 2011, before TSA carriers succeeded in implementing the first of three general rate increases on Jan. 1.
Despite this week’s decline, average spot rates have been holding up better on the trans-Pacific than on the Asia-Europe trade, where falling rates led Maersk Line and other carriers to postpone a peak-season surcharge that was schedule to take effect on June 1.