Average spot rates on the eastbound trans-Pacific trade lane fell 6.7 percent this week, in the first drop since carriers put a peak-season surcharge into effect on June 10.
The Drewry benchmark rate for shipping a 40-foot container from Hong Kong to Los Angeles fell to $2,519, a drop of $181 per FEU from the $2,700 per FEU level where it had perched for the previous three weeks.
“The decline in Drewry's Hong Kong-Los Angeles Container Rate Benchmark this week is probably due to the additional capacity deployed by several carriers in the past three months and to a reduction in carrier fuel surcharges,” said Philip Damas, director of Drewry Supply Chain Advisors.
The Drewry benchmark rate includes all surcharges, such as that for bunker fuel, except for terminal-handling charges at the port of origin.
Damas said most of trans-Pacific carriers reduced their spot trans-Pacific rates this week. “However, at $2,519 per 40-foot container, the spot rate benchmark is still high by historical standards, and considerably higher than most annual contract port-to-port rates.”
Carriers have been able to hold on to most of the four general rate increases implemented this year on the eastbound trans-Pacific trade. Most recently, the carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement implemented a $600 per FEU peak-season surcharge on June 10.
Even after this week’s decline, the four general rate increases and the peak-season surcharge have lifted the Drewry benchmark rate by 75.4 percent from the $1,436 per FEU average in the last week of 2011.
This week’s benchmark rate is 43.6 percent higher than the same week a year ago, when it averaged $1,753 per FEU.