cma cgm
© Vladimir Serebryanskiy

Another week of double-digit declines on the major Asia-Europe trades as today’s Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI) registers big falls in container rates to both North Europe and Mediterranean destinations, which ended the week at virtual parity.

The Shanghai-North Europe leg declined by 22.6%, or $75 per teu, to reach $257 per teu, while the Shanghai-Mediterranean leg fell by 22.7%, a drop of $78 per teu to finish the week on $266 per teu, as the financial pain being suffered by carriers began to become public knowledge.

Spot rates to North Europe are fast approaching the all-time low for the tradelane of $205 per teu, with all bets now off on this watershed being breached within the next couple of weeks.

Partly in response, CMA CGM announced a $900 per teu general rate increase (GRI) on Asia to North Europe shipments to take effect on 15 March. Last week OOCL said it intends to introduce a $925 per teu GRI on the same date.

The European Commission is in the midst of a month-long consultation on commitments made by carriers which would prevent them from publishing and communicating GRIs. Until these become legally binding the container lines do not need to comply.

The transpacific trade between Shanghai and the US west coast also fell, although by a much more moderate 6.1%, or $65 per 40ft, to $1,005 per feu – a shockingly low level, given that carriers and shippers are now preparing to begin the annual contract negotiating seasons, which traditionally kicks off at next week’s Transpacific Maritime (TPM) show in Long Beach, organised by the Journal of Commerce.

In advance of that, Hapag-Lloyd this week announced a headhaul eastbound GRI of $400 per feu.

The Asia-US east coast leg also fell, by 4%, to $1,983 per feu, a decline of $91.

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