The average spot freight rate in the eastbound trans-Pacific trade dropped this week for the third consecutive week, with the rate falling below the level prior to the last general rate increase on Aug. 1.
The Drewry benchmark rate for shipping a 40-foot-equivalent-unit container from Hong Kong to Los Angeles fell to $1,836 for the week of Aug. 28, down 5.2 percent from Aug. 21’s rate of $1,936 per FEU.
The four-week slide perpetuates the pattern of declines that has followed the short-lived increases after every one of the five GRIs in the trans-Pacific this year.
Drewry said it expects that pattern of declines to continue even after the Sept. 1 GRI of $400 per FEU that has been recommended by the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement.
The pattern of declines in trans-Pacific spot rates reflects a similar trend that has occurred after every GRI in the westbound Asia-Europe trade, and the declines there have been even steeper.
When TSA carriers implemented the previous GRI of $400 per FEU on Aug. 1, the Drewry benchmark increased to $2,136 per FEU, or only about half of the increase recommended by the TSA.
With this week’s decline in the benchmark, the average spot rate is $100 per FEU below where it was following the Aug. 1 GRI.
The Aug. 28 rate is 26.5 percent below where it was a year ago, when it was $2,496 per FEU, and 17 percent, or $377 per FEU, below the rate of $2,213 per FEU at the beginning of 2013.