Spot container rates between Asia and Europe last week hit a six-month high, according to data from the Shanghai Shipping Exchange’s Shanghai Containerized Freight Index.
Spot container rates from Asia rose sharply on Friday, according to the Shanghai Shipping Exchange.
On Friday, the exchange said its Shanghai Containerized Freight Index — a weighted index which measures estimated spot rates on 15 routes from Shanghai to various destinations around the world — rose 50 percent from 548.77 to 822.39.
Rates were up on all four of the major trades to Europe and the United States.
- From Shanghai to Northwest Europe, the rate rose $709 per TEU to $1,109 per TEU
- From Shanghai to Mediterranean ports, the rate rose $717 to $1,119 per TEU
- From Shanghai to the U.S. West Coast, rates rose $484 to $1,607 per FEU
- From Shanghai to the U.S. East Coast, rates rose $512 to $3,050 per FEU.
The SCFI reflects general rate increases that many carriers had announced for Aug. 1, 2015.
Lloyds Loading List said the rates to Northern Europe were at the highest price since the end of January, and rates to the Mediterranean were the highest since the first week of March.
The Shanghai Shipping Exchange estimates spot rates by polling a panel of executive from both liner companies and forwarders.
Industry analysts say it’s unclear whether higher rates will stick.
In an article in this week’s edition of Drewry Container Insight, the London-based consultant cut its 2015 growth forecast for Greater China (including Hong Kong) port throughput from 5.8 percent to 4.9 percent.
Drewry said this represents a shortfall of approximately 1.85 million TEUs, or roughly 1 percent of world traffic in 2014.
Meanwhile, capacity in the Asia-Europe trade continues to grow, with many large new ships entering the trade. Alphaliner estimates the number of ships with capacity of 18,000-21,000 TEUs will increase from 15 to 36 this year, and the number of ships between 13,300 TEUs and 17,999 TEUs will increase from 81 to 111.
Case in point: This past weekend, MSC celebrated the christening of the MSC Zoe, the third of MSC’s supersize “Oscar class” series of 19,224-TEU vessels, at a ceremony in Hamburg.
Drewry noted there has been a slowdown in Chinese demand for raw materials such as iron ore and coal and an effort by the country to “drive growth less from investment and more from services and consumption.”
Greater China represents approximately 30 percent of all container moves in the world, having nearly doubled its share since the start of the century when its expansion was given a major boost following entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to Drewry.
It estimates that Chinese container imports grew 1.6 percent last year and container exports 9.1 percent, which translates to a 5.6 percent increase total container volumes.