Box freight rates to/from China mostly continue to slide

Graphic: Shutterstock

Graphic: Shutterstock

It was largely a further slide down the slippery slope for the Shanghai Shipping Exchange’s China Containerized Freight Index, week ending March 22. Rates on nearly all seaborne containerized routes were down compared to the week before. Rates were also largely down on the benchmark containerized routes as compiled by Drewry Maritime Advisors.

All that is, except Korea, Africa and the Med. China-Africa was up 9.48 percent to 808.22 points at the end of last week. China-Korea was also up, by 4.95 percent, to stand at 609.9 points. China-Med was essentially flat, being a mere 0.02 percent up to stand at 1,085.65 points.

But rates on all other routes were on the slippery slide down.

China-Persian Gulf/Red Sea fell by the greatest amount, down 3.87 percent to stand at 760.93 points. South American rates were down by 2.55 percent to stand at 518.92 points. South African rates were down by 2.41 percent to 577.4 points. China-Japan was down by 2.18 percent to 723.16 points.

Routes from China to the U.S. were, unsurprisingly, down. East Coast U.S. was down by 1.53 percent to 843.75 points and the West Coast U.S was down by 1.37 percent to 655.29 points. Europe was down too by 1.02 percent to 1034.55 points.

There were other two routes that were ever-so-slightly down by just under one percent. These were Australia/New Zealand, which stood at 711.72 points, and South East Asia which stood at 712.51 points.

Overall, the composite index was down by just under one percent from the previous week to stand at 813.37 points.

The CCFI is indexed to January 1, 1998 at 1,000 index points. It looks at rates on 12 routes to various points in the world from the 10 Chinese ports of Dalian, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Xiamen. At the time of writing, 22 box ship operators provide data.

Also providing pricing data is Drewry Maritime Advisors, which compiles a series of indices based on the transport of a forty-foot box. Drewry looks at Shanghai-Rotterdam, Shanghai-Los Angeles, and Shanghai-New York, among other routes. And those freight rates were all mostly down too.

Drewry’s Shanghai-Rotterdam route is down by four percent week-on-week. It states a rate of US$1431 / box, down from the previous week of US$1,495. Shanghai-New York is also down, again by four percent, to US$2,353. However, Shanghai-Los Angeles bucked the general downward trend with a small two percent weekly rise up to US$1,392.

Backhaul route to China

Containerized freight rates on the backhaul route to China are also marginally on the slide. The Shanghai Shipping Exchange publishes the CICFI index, which gives insight into containerized freight rates into China. Routes from both the west and east coast of the U.S. back to China were down by just under one percent. West coast U.S. to China stood at 856.97 points last week and east coast U.S. to China stood at 584.98 points. The Europe to China service fared a little worse as rates declined by 1.92 percent to stand at 786.94 points.

However, it was a different story on the Mediterranean to China route which was largely flat, albeit marginally up, by 0.46 percent to stand at 920.22 points. The Australia / New Zealand service was more buoyant with a 3.46 percent increase to stand at 629.61 points.

The CICFI is indexed to late November 2014 with a base of 1,000 index points. The index takes into account five routes from regions around the world: Europe, Mediterranean, U.S. West Coast, U.S. East Coast and Australia New Zealand. The destination ports are the main box ports in China – Dalian, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Xiamen. Data is provided by 11 ocean carriers.

Drewry Maritime Advisors also provides pricing data on two containerized backhaul routes to China. On the Rotterdam to Shanghai route, box rates were unchanged at US$542/box. Los Angeles to Shanghai saw an increase of four percent to US$517/box.