Spot rates in the Asia-Europe trade dropped this week, for the second week in a row, more than eroding the effect of the peak-season surcharge that some carriers put into effect at the beginning of the month.
The World Container Index of spot prices in the trade from Shanghai to Rotterdam, compiled by Drewry and the Cleartrade Exchange in Singapore, fell by $190 on Aug. 16, or 5.6 percent from the previous week, to $3,189 per laden 40-foot-equivalent unit. The two weeks of decline more than offset the gain of $163 in the index on Aug. 2 to $3,496 per FEU.
Asia-Europe carriers, including the four members of the CKYH Alliance and Maersk Line, tried to limit capacity by skipping some port calls in China last month, but the impact of these measures appears to be fading.
“We have said for some time that carriers’ continued attempts to raise container freight rates in the trans-Pacific and Asia-Europe trades will become more and more difficult, and be reversed by subsequent rate decreases, due to the weak supply and demand balance,” said Philip Damas, division director of Drewry Supply Chain Advisors.
Nevertheless, carriers have been able to hold onto most of the four general rates increases they have implemented on the Asia-Europe trade this year This week’s index is 159 percent higher than the WCI of $1,230 per FEU on Jan. 5. It is also 108.4 percent higher than the index of $1,530 per FEU in the same week last year.