The crash in freight rates on the major Far East westbound routes continues today with more double-digit slides reported by the Shanghai Shipping Exchange.
Its freight index SCFI showed another 14% drop in average spot rates on the Shanghai/North Europe run to only USD399 per teu while the benchmark rates for liftings to the Mediterranean ports fell by 11% to USD540 per teu. Thus freight prices are back to the record lows seen during the global recession in 2009. Headhaul transport demand from the Far East to Europe has been dampened by the fall in value of the Euro which makes sourcing of goods in China more expensive for industry and retailers. Official data out of China showed that the country’s exports in monetary terms dropped by 14.6% year on year during March. Carriers have not made any permanent capacity cuts yet but a number of individual sailings by ultra large vessels have been cancelled. This includes the maiden voyage of the newly delivered 19,224 teu MSC Oliver which has been pushed back by three weeks, according to Alphaliner.
Spot freight rates for shipments ex Shanghai to the US West Coast and the US East Coast were adversely affected this week, too, as port congestion continues to relax and as container lines begin to ramp capacity for the peak season. The SCFI saw rates falling by 16% (USWC) and by 9% (USEC).