Trans-Pacific Spot Rate Settles Down

Trans-Pacific Spot Rate Settles Down

After two weeks of strong week-to-week increases, the spot rate for shipping a 40-foot container from Hong Kong to Los Angeles settled down, stabilizing at $1,669 in the week ended Jan. 25, the same rate as in the previous week, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants in London.

The spike in prices over the last two weeks was fueled by the “emergency rate charge” that was implemented on Jan. 15 by the 15 carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement.

Shippers say they had no choice but to go along with the increase because all the TSA carriers held the line on the price increase called for by the discussion agreement.

The spot rate in the last two weeks was up 17 percent from $1,427 in 2009. It was the first year-over-year increase in the spot rate in well over a year, according to Drewry, which compiles an index of spot rates from data it collects from non-vessel-operating common carriers in Hong Kong. The spot rate in the week ended Jan. 18 was 17.9 percent higher than in the second week in January, which was in turn 10.3 percent higher than in the first week in the month.

Early in January, the TSA called for a mid-contract emergency rate increase as of Jan. 15 of $400 per FEU shipped from Asia to West Coast ports to tide its carrier members over until they can seek an $800 per FEU increase on containers shipped to West Coast ports in their 2010-2011 contracts.

Contact Peter T. Leach at