Saturday, July 19, 2014
OCEAN CONTAINER RATES
From the Journal of Commerce--
Instability in the spot rate market continued this week, as spot rates from Shanghai to northern Europe, the Mediterranean and both coasts of the United States sank yet again amid a hearty schedule of general rate increases.
Spot rates to northern European ports on the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index sank 5.5 percent this week to $1,230 per 20-foot container. The rate was 0.8 percent lower year-over-year, and has dropped 30.3 percent, or $535, year-to-date as compared to the same time period in 2013.
“Rates are down for nearly all of the main lines,” said Jean Marie Lamay, head of commodities and freight solutions at HSH Nordbank. “Liners claim they hate volatility and would rather see smooth pricing, but in some ways they’re responsible for the volatility. They request large GRIs, then we hear that there are major discounts being offered. They’re undercutting themselves.Lamay said at least 10 carriers announced GRIs for August at an average of $640 per TEU.
Spot rates in the Mediterranean also dropped this week, plunging 5.2 percent to $1,486 per TEU. The spot rate is down 17 percent, or $305 per TEU, as compared to year-to-date numbers from 2013. However, $1,486 per TEU is 20.3 percent higher year-over-year.
Rates to U.S. West Coast ports fell to $1,783 per 40-foot container, 2.2 percent lower than the previous week. The rate is nearly 10 percent lower year-over-year.
GRIs have been attempted by Transpacific Stabilization Agreement members at least once a month, if not twice, since April. None of the rate increases have been fully realized, including a July peak-season surcharge of $400 per FEU. Rates on the SCFI gained $121 per container, well short of the $400 per FEU requested. The spot rate has given back nearly half of those gains, surrendering $58 per container in the past two weeks.Drewry’s Hong Kong-to-Los Angeles benchmark spot rate saw about $300 of the requested $400-per-container GRI, but fell short of the requested amount. Drewry expects rates to trend downward until August GRIs are put in place.
Spot rates to the U.S. East Coast also lost ground this week, falling 0.5 percent or $17 per FEU. The rate to the East Coast are 8.7 percent higher year-over-year.