Average spot rates in the eastbound trans-Pacific trade lane fell 2.6 percent this week, down for the third week in a row 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 $2,380, a decline of $65 per FEU from $2,2445 per FEU last week.
This week’s benchmark is down 11.8 percent, or $320, from the level of $2,700 per FEU that prevailed for the first three weeks after the implementation of the June 10 peak-season surcharge. After staying flat for two weeks following the PSS, the benchmark rate has experienced three weekly declines of 6.7 percent on July 2, 2.9 percent on July 9 and 2.6 percent on July 16.
The declines could be due to flat U.S. import demand in the first few weeks of the peak season and to continuing vessel overcapacity despite carrier efforts to keep it in check.
The carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement are planning to implement an unprecedented fifth rate increase on Aug. 1, when they plan to boost rates by $500 per 40-foot container to the West Coast and $700 to all other destinations.
Carriers have been able to hold on to most of the four general rate increases implemented this year in 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 65.7 percent from the $1,436 per FEU average in the last week of 2011.
This week’s benchmark rate is 45.5 percent higher than the same week a year ago, when it averaged $1,636 per FEU.
The Drewry benchmark rate includes all surcharges, such as that for bunker fuel, except for terminal-handling charges at the port of origin.