Spot rates from Hong Kong to Los Angeles slid slightly this week, giving up some of the gain seen around the first of two peak-season surcharges for trans-Pacific carriers.
Drewry’s benchmark spot rate from Hong Kong to Los Angeles stood at $1,800 per 40-foot container this week, $50 per FEU lower than last week’s level. The loss gave back a quarter of the $200 rise spot rates experienced last week on the back of a July 1 surcharge of $200 per FEU. Members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement also are planning a second surcharge for mid-July of an additional $200 per container for shipments to Southern California.
“Drewry expects rates to remain under pressure in the run up to the second stage of the TSA carriers’ PSS in mid-July, when rates could rise briefly assuming that cargo operations remain uninterrupted,” Drewry said.
So far, there have been very limited cargo disruptions at U.S. West Coast ports, despite labor negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association and other, smaller, labor-related skirmishes.
Drewry’s spot rate has seen some volatility lately, sinking $350 in five weeks before the surcharge was put on cargo. The spot rate was 11.6 percent lower year-over-year this week, the seventh straight week of double-digit year-over-year declines. Year to date, the rate is 4.6 percent lower than it was during the same time period in 2013.
Spot rates to the U.S. West Coast were up 4.1 percent to $1,841 on the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index on July 4. The index, which prices for the week ahead, showed SCFI’s trans-Pacific spot rate was still 13.6 percent lower than the same week in 2013.
Last week’s Drewry spot rate hike was the first time TSA members had fully realized a rate increase so far this year. General rate increases in the spring and summer fell short, and TSA members initially planned to institute the peak season surcharge in June, but decided at the last minute to postpone the charge until after certain market rates expired on June 30.