After several weeks of continued decline, container spot freight rates on the main Asia-Europe trades recovered this week in preparation for carriers’ FAK [freight all kinds] increases next week.

Today’s Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI) saw the spot rate on the Shanghai-North Europe leg increase by 5.7%, a rise of $53 per teu, to finish the week on $977 per teu.

The Shanghai-Mediterranean leg also rose, increasing by $31 per teu, or 3.4%, to finish the week on $945 per teu.

However, there was a discrepancy with the Drewry-assisted World Container Index, which showed slight declines – dropping $52 to rest at $1,759 per feu on Shanghai-Rotterdam and $13 to $1,824 per feu on Shanghai-Genoa.

Last week, a number of shipping lines announced new FAK prices from 1 June for both Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Maersk said its FAK rate from Shanghai to Barcelona would be $1,000 per teu and from $1,125 to $1,175 per teu depending on the North Europe base port.

Similarly, CMA CGM has announced a 1,100 per teu Asia-North Europe FAK rate for the same date.

However, these gains were not replicated on the Asia-North America trades, which continued to decline, apparently resistant to carriers’ forthcoming attempts to install increases. CMA CGM said that on 1 June it would set an FAK rate to US west coast ports of £1,650 per 40ft and $2,650 per 40ft to the east coast.

Current spot rates are some way off that target. This week’s SCFI saw the transpacific Asia-US west coast spot rate decline by 3.5% to finish at $1,264 per 40ft, while the all-water Asia-US east coast port rate fell 3% to finish at $2,229 per teu.

The flattening of rates has also coincided with a decline in number of ships currently being idled. According to Alphaliner, the idle fleet this week reached a 20-month low, and was just 2.5% of global capacity.

Scrapping levels have also declined, it said, with 19 vessels totalling 61,000 teu of capacity sold for scrap since the beginning of April, compared to 56 vessels amounting to 162,000 teu of capacity scrapped during the corresponding period last year.

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