SCFI This Week: Asia-Mediterranean Spot Rates Drop 8.2 Percent

SCFI This Week: Asia-Mediterranean Spot Rates Drop 8.2 Percent

Spot rates in the major Asia-Europe and Asia-North American trade lanes further weakened this week, according to the SCFI index.

The SCFI North Europe index tumbled nearly 12 percent to $1,079 per TEU from $1,225 last week. Since soaring more than 38 percent in two weeks in early November to $1,491 around a planned rate increase, the spot level has dropped  more than 27 percent in the past three weeks.

Average spot rates in the Asia-Mediterranean trade fell .2 percent this week. Source: Shanghai Shipping Exchange.

The Asia-Med trade has faired worse, dropping another 8.2 percent this week to $786 per TEU. The index has now dropped 38 percent in the past four weeks and has dropped 56 percent since June, when the Med index stood at $1,812 TEUs.

U.S. West Coast rates weakened further as well, falling 6.1 percent this week to $2,089 per FEU. West Coast rates have fallen 23 percent since late September, prompting carriers in the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement to postpone a planned $400 per FEU general rate increase to the West Coast from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15. SCFI rates to the U.S. East Coast reflected the general weakness, dropping 3.1 percent to $3,146 per FEU. East Coast rates have dropped roughly 20 percent since mid-September.

According to Clarksons, “Although most of the talk this week has been about December GRIs, the spot market does not seem to be listening. The four main routes have shed more value, with Europe maintaining the steeper rate of decline and the two US trades pushing into 3-figure losses.” The direction of the SCFI this week “would seem to suggest that utilization levels are under pressure at the current levels of supply.”

"The SCFI today shows spot rates ex China are under significant pressure," Clarksons said. "The seasonal slowdown in cargo volumes appears to be outpacing any winter capacity cuts made on these mainline trades and utilization levels are suffering as a result."