Container lines have been delivered some unpleasant news as they steer into what should be the summer cargo peak season.
German research institutes RWI und ISL today warned that global containerised cargo flows appear to have contracted last month (May).
Their monthly Container Throughput Index, based on handling data of 81 box ports across the globe, saw a drop from 119.8 to 117.9 points after seasonal adjustment for May.
“Declining port handling volumes have been reported predominantly in some Asian ports as well as in the Baltic Sea,” the research institutes commented on the data. “The estimate is unlikely to be subject to major revisions and suggests a setback for world trade,” they said.
The data does not bode well for container lines’ forthcoming attempts to increase freight rates after spot rates ex Shanghai dropped to all-time lows in a number of trades.
According to the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI), full container loads from Shanghai to North Europe and to the Mediterranean are currently getting fixed at an average of just 205 USD/TEU and 274 USD/TEU, respectively.
Carriers have lined up general rate increases between circa 900 and 1,300 USD/TEU for the Asia-Europe trade, effective 1 July, following several failed GRI attempts over the past months.