Spot container rates from Asia to Europe measured by the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index jumped in the week ending Aug. 2, following proposed general rate increases set for Aug. 1. Both North Europe and Mediterranean lanes achieved about 52 percent of the $500 per 20-foot-equivalent-unit increase announced by Hanjin Shipping, MOL, OOCL, Mediterranean Shipping Co., Hyundai Merchant Marine, Hapag-Lloyd, Zim Integrated Shipping Services, Cosco and United Arab Shipping Co. Maersk Line announced a smaller increase of $300 per TEU and Evergreen, $400 per TEU.
“The increase in northern Europe was significantly less successful than the rate increase seen in the previous month where roughly 98 percent of the planned GRI came into force. Despite this, carriers will probably be relatively happy given that rates are now just above $1,500, which not many in the market would have expected at the start of the year,” said Richard Ward, research analyst for container derivatives at ICAP.
The spot rate from Shanghai to northern European ports jumped 10.4 percent or $141 this week from the week before to $1,501 per TEU, the highest rate since Aug. 17, 2012. The current SCFI index to northern Europe is 12.2 percent below where it was at the same point in 2012, but 18.2 percent higher than at the beginning of 2013.
The spot rate from Shanghai to Mediterranean ports soared 21 percent or $259 in the week ending Aug. 2 from the week before to $1,493 per TEU, according to the latest SCFI data issued by the Shanghai Shipping Exchange. The current SCFI index to the Mediterranean is 7.3 percent below where it was at the same point in 2012, but 29 percent above where it was on Jan. 1
“It seems likely that next week will see further rises, particularly on Asia-Europe and Asia-Mediterranean lanes where carriers seem to be finding more traction at present,” said David Barnes, freight derivatives broker at Clarksons Securities.
“Expectations in the market are that in the coming weeks rates will soften although not in such a significant way to completely wipe out the recent gains. The market will be eagerly waiting to see if further announcements are made for September or if early winter capacity adjustments are made,” Ward said.