Weak cargo volumes are limiting ocean carriers' ability to implement rate hikes for any sustainable period, despite concerted efforts to pull capacity from east-west trade routes, according to Drewry Maritime Research’s Container Forecaster report.
Average head-haul freight rates have declined from about $2,700 per 20-foot-equivalent unit in early March 2012 to $2,400 in early January 2013.
With another 40 ships of at least 10,000 TEUs scheduled for delivery this year, carriers will “have a very difficult time” deploying them without further damaging the supply-demand balance, according to the report. Operational alliances are expected to increase.
For a look at other implications of the report, JOC members can consult Joseph Bonney’s story.