Ocean carrier revenues have failed to keep pace with the 50 percent surge in the China Containerized Freight Index since the beginning of the year, according to Alphaliner.
That’s because trades covered by the closely tracked index cover only 55 percent of global container capacity, the container market analyst said.
The CCFI hit a record 1,336 points in mid-May, the highest level since the index was launched by the Shanghai Shipping Exchange in January 1998.
The index has receded in the past three weeks to 1,319 points, but it is still up 50 percent from a recent low of 881 points at the end of December 2011.
While the CCFI increased 5 percent in the first quarter from the final three months of 2011, the average revenue of 10 main carriers surveyed by Alphaliner declined by 1 percent over the same period.
Some of the causes of the discrepancy are weaker head haul volumes in the first quarter and the lag in revenue recognition due to voyage completion accounting, according to Alphaliner, but the fundamental reason is that the index only accounts for 55 percent of world trades, and non-CCFI lanes have not risen as sharply as CCFI-linked trades so far this year.
The index has been widely used as a barometer of the container shipping market, as it tracks export freight rates out of China, which are largely correlated with export rates from other Far East regions. It does not, however, track import rates.
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