Backhaul rates from northern Europe sharply declined 7.2 percent this week, the steepest drop since rates declined 12 percent in early December 2011, according to the latest release of the World Container Index. Westbound backhaul rates also dropped, putting both lanes at their lowest rates since January.
The Europe-to-Asia eastbound rate from Rotterdam to Shanghai lost $73 from last week, putting it at $940 per 40-foot container in the week of June 6. Rates fell below the $1,000-per-FEU mark for the first time since January. This is the seventh week of declines in this lane, with rates down a total of 13.8 percent or $151 during this period. Despite the slump, the current rate is up 0.4 percent or $4 since the beginning of the year and up 7.3 percent year-over-year.
The trans-Pacific westbound rate from Los Angeles to Shanghai slid 4 percent or $37 to $861 per FEU after sitting at $898 for three straight weeks. This lane hasn’t seen any increases in nine weeks and has fallen 14.2 percent or $143 during this period. The current rate is 1.5 percent or $13 lower than it was at the beginning of the year but remains 1.5 percent higher than it was at the same point a year ago.
Maersk has announced a $300-per-FEU general rate increase for cargo moving from northern European ports to Asia effective July 1.
Going forward, WCI backhaul rates will no longer be reported weekly; they will be reported monthly in the first week of each month to include data from the prior month.