Shanghai Containerized Freight Index spot rates for U.S.-bound trade lanes experienced moderate increases in the week of May 24, following general rate increases of $400 per 40-foot container moving from Asia to the U.S. West Coast and $600 per FEU from Asia to the U.S. East Coast implemented by USL and CMA CGM on May 21.
The spot rate to the U.S. West Coast jumped 4 percent or $81 to $2,093 per FEU this week. This was the second straight week of increases in this lane after rates inched up 0.8 percent or $15 the week before. Combining the two-week gains, which totaled $96, only 24 percent of the $400 GRI was achieved. This is significantly less than was seen in this week’s Drewry’s Hong Kong-Los Angeles Container Rate Benchmark, which saw an increase of $250, thus achieving nearly 63 percent of the $400 GRI. The current spot rate is down 10.3 percent year-over-year and is 5.8 percent or $128 below the level seen at the beginning of 2013.
The spot rate to the U.S. East Coast rose 2.7 percent or $85 per FEU from last week to $3,254, according to the latest SCFI data, issued by the Shanghai Shipping Exchange. This followed an increase of 0.5 percent from last week. In total, the past two weeks have seen a $102 jump, thus achieving only 17 percent of the proposed $600 GRI. The current index level is down 6.5 percent from the same week in 2012 and down 3 percent or $104 since the beginning of 2013.
“Carriers in the trade will be hoping that they can maintain the upward momentum from last week as they look to reverse the steady declines seen in both the USWC and USEC since the start of the year. Although the falls aren’t as dramatic as those seen in Europe, they still represent a significant loss in earnings,” said Richard Ward, research analyst for container derivatives of ICAP PLC.