Pacific container lines see rates boost
Transpacific carriers have defied sceptics and applied another round of rate increases this month.
Drewry’s latest Hong Kong-Los Angeles container rate benchmark has climbed 17.5%, or US$428 per feu, to US$2880.
That follows a US$72 increase in eastbound spot rates the previous week, bringing the rise over the past fortnight to US$500.
Members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement announced a month ago they would be aiming for increases averaging US$500 per feu to the west coast, and US$700 for all other shipments.
They are said to be optimistic about their latest restoration efforts.
Spot Asia-US rates are now almost 90% higher than a year ago, when they stood at just over US$1500.
Drewry says that while lines have been staggering rate increases over the past couple of weeks, it questions whether the August price advances will hold.
“The jump in rates and in volumes is there, but we have not changed our belief that freight rate levels will drift back downwards through the latter part of August,” said Martin Dixon, Drewry’s research manager for freight rate benchmarking.
“We tell shippers to expect that spot rates have reached a plateau and will now decline.”
But with transpacific capacity lower than a year ago and Asia-US volumes in July up by around 7%, the container market on the transpacific route appears to be much tighter than the Asia-Europe container trade, Drewry said when releasing its latest data.
Meanwhile, new Lloyd’s List Intelligence data shows another decline in the size of the idle boxship fleet, which is down to 1.9% of total capacity from 2% a week earlier.
Inactive containership capacity now stands at 241 ships, with a total intake of 303,000 teu.
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