Average spot rates on the Asia-Europe trade slipped slightly this week for the sixth week in a row, reflecting the growing amount of new capacity that is being deployed and of idled vessels that are returning to the trade.
The World Container Index of spot prices in the trade from Shanghai to Rotterdam, which is compiled by Drewry and the Cleartrade Exchange in Singapore, dropped by $4 (-0.1 percent) this week to $3,225 per laden 40-foot container from $3,229 on June 7.
This week’s WCI shows a drop of 16.8 percent in the last six weeks from the WCI of $3,878 per FEU on May 3 that followed carriers’ May 1 general rate increase of about $800 per FEU.
Carriers have returned almost half their idle capacity to global trade lanes in the last three months as a result of the four GRIs they have secured so far this year, according to BIMCO.
Carriers had been able to hold onto most of the four large GRIs they put into effect since the beginning of the year, because they have kept vessel capacity relatively tight. This week’s WCI is 162 percent higher than the WCI of $1,230 per FEU on Jan. 4, which reflects the carriers’ discipline in maintaining those rate increases until the last month.