Trans-Pacific eastbound spot rates continued to hold on to their year to date gains, avoiding the erosion seen in the Asia-Europe market in recent weeks. Spot eastbound trans-Pacific rates stood at $2,536 per 40-foot container, unchanged from last week and $322 or 14.5 percent higher than the beginning of the year, according to the Wednesday release of the Drewry Hong Kong-Los Angeles Container Rate Benchmark.
Drewry’s Hong Kong - Los Angeles Container Rate Benchmark
Rate Per 40-Foot Container and Week-to-Week Percentage Change
Although carriers in the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement achieved only half of a scheduled $600 per FEU increase as of Jan. 15, after achieving only ten percent of a $400 increase scheduled for Dec. 15, the carriers have since held on to the limited gains they achieved, according to the Drewry index. Carriers will view this as a positive sign that rates may be firming ahead of annual negotiations on contracts that mostly roll over on May 1. The trans-Pacific market outlook willo be presented in the opening panel at the 2013 TPM on March 3-6 in Long Beach.
Asia-Europe rates as tracked in the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index are weakening, shedding $117 per 20-foot container or 8.2 percent over four consecutive weeks since Jan. 18 after achieving $200 in increases in early January rate increases. Carriers in the trans-Pacific are being restrained in terms of capacity, adding only 1 percent over the past few weeks according to ICAP and 7 percent since November. Some analysts believe carriers may soon add to trans-Pacific capacity with tonnage cascaded from Asia-Europe, but that is only speculation as of this point.