All-inclusive transpacific container shipping rates to North America remained stable during the week through December 10, with hopes that shipping lines would push for further increases next week as the demand is growing.
With restocking for the year-end shopping season and the Lunar New Year holiday in China in February, North American and European importers are actively soliciting quotes for crossings from Asia in January.
But shippers are being pressed by a shortage of empty containers in Asia, as port congestion and blank crossings hamper the return of equipment from Europe and North America. Shipping companies that can offer sufficient equipment may also charge more premium service charges.
“More and more ships are leaving the west coast of North America without waiting to load empty containers, such is the rush to return to Asia after all the other delays,” said a US freight forwarder. “It just leaves a bigger stack of equipment to slow everything else down.”
To make matters worse, China has increased its quarantine requirements for crew return to seven weeks, further delaying ships that have had to add stops elsewhere for a faster crew change. The flow of cargo to southern Chinese ports by supply ships has been particularly affected by these growing restrictions.
Premium rates from North Asia could drop from $ 12,000 to $ 14,000 / FEU on the West Coast of North America and from $ 16,000 to $ 18,000 / FEU on the East Coast from the start. next week, as shipowners demand general rate increases of up to $ 3,000 / FEU on Freight-All-Kinds Base Rates starting December 15th.
But some sources doubted that such an increase would be accepted.
“Demand could increase due to the increase in departures before the Chinese New Year, but rates will increase only slightly, if at all,” said a Singapore-based source.
Carriers are now aiming for spot rate stability and many have been reluctant to offer long-term deals to freight forwarders to control spot rate volatility, the source added.
Demand declines among Southeast Asian exporters
Premium rates remained stable on the Southeast Asia-North America route, with port congestion and delays offsetting the bearish sentiment due to weak demand.
Rates ranged from $ 16,000 / FIRE to $ 19,000 / FIRE for Southeast Asia to the east coast of North America and between $ 13,000 and $ 16,000 / FIRE for the west coast.
Sources say shippers are in no rush to make reservations as most of the Christmas demand has been met and it is too late to make new reservations.
“There have been substantial rate cuts since Golden Week,” said an India-based logistics provider. “I don’t know why the clues don’t highlight it enough. Only exporters with high value goods book shipments at a higher rate and most small and medium scale shippers are just waiting for the prices to drop.
Shippers have become more familiar with cargo delays and equipment shortages and are better able to plan their reservations to avoid a tight deadline, the logistics provider added. But congestion problems and blank departures from US ports remain a concern with a transport cancellation rate of nearly 10%.
Premiums expected for some fast shipments to Europe
FAK rates from Asia to Europe fell this week as the spot market touched a pocket of weak demand between the replenishment periods for the holiday season and the Lunar New Year. Platts Container Rate 1 – North Asia to mainland UK – fell to $ 14,500 / FEU on December 10th from $ 15,750 / FEU on December 3rd.
But some shipowners are adding premium service charges for quick loading dates of $ 3,000 to $ 5,000 / FEU as they anticipate a sharp rebound in demand over the next month to coincide with escalating supply chain issues. ‘supply.
“Premium rates to UK in particular can reach $ 20,000 / FEU for quick loading,” said a UK-based freight forwarder. “We are seeing demand picking up quite well as we move into the first quarter.”