SCFI: US East Coast rate holds as other lanes fall
Spot rates to the U.S. East Coast on the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index have been steady since June, while other major trade lanes — from Asia to the U.S. West Coast, to the Mediterranean and to northern Europe — have continued to experience volatility. This week, the SCFI Shanghai-U.S. East Coast rate slipped just 0.2 percent week-to-week to $4,178 per 40-foot container, still 22 percent higher year-over-year.
This is the third straight week of double-digit year-over-year percentage gains for the SCFI to the U.S. East Coast, and the third straight week above $4,000 per 40-foot container. Rates have been up year-over-year since mid-April.
Since July, the spot rate has risen by $964 per FEU.
Volumes to the U.S. East Coast are being driven by peak season demand, augmented by sustained cargo diversions because of labor negotiations at West Coast ports. As the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association remain without a contract, shippers continue to search for other cargo delivery options in order to stave off any potential slowdowns.
The added volumes have caused some minor congestion at East Coast ports, increasing berth times and arrival delays at major ports in the east.
Rates fall across other major lanesThe SCFI spot rate to northern Europe dropped yet again this week, falling 10.7 percent to $1,198 per 20-foot container. The $143-per-TEU decline brought the rate down a total of $257 per TEU in the past two weeks. A general rate increase on Aug. 1 had netted $252 per container, so that increase has been erased.
Spot rates have dropped in the Asia-Europe lane for seven of the last nine weeks, with the streak interrupted briefly around carriers’ general rate increases. The rate has dropped 32.1 percent, or $567, since Jan. 1.
Rates to the Mediterranean also fell this week, with the SCFI declining 5.5 percent to $1,524 per TEU, giving up more than half of the gains achieved in the past two weeks.
The SCFI rate to the U.S. West Coast fell $80 per FEU, to $2,109 per 40-foot container. The spot rate rose nearly 25 percent after an Aug. 1 GRI, but since then has shown two consecutive drops. The 3.7 percent week-to-week decline still left rates to the West Coast up 8.7 percent year-over-year.