Container exports at major Chinese ports remained stable in the first four months of 2015, but the freight rate index kept falling, according to a report released by Shanghai Shipping Exchange.
The economic fluctuations in Europe has dragged the stable growth demand for shipping, and the average space utilisation rate of most ships was at around 80%, with some even lower at 70%. As a result, carriers had to postpone the rate increase plans.
As of the end of April, the freight index for services from China to Europe and Mediterranean stood at 1,100.5 points and 1,176.6 points, down by 14.4% and 19.4%, respectively, from last month.
The report predicts that shipping demand will increase as the United States recovers economically, but that shipping capacity will also transfer to this market. Shanghai Shipping Exchange data showed that shipping capacity for services from Asia Pacific to North America amounted to 3.65 million teu at the beginning of April, rising 23.5% year on year.
Last month the freight index for services from China to the west coast of America stood at 960.6 points, down 6.3% month on month (m/m), and that for China to America’s east coast also dropped 4.2% m/m to 1,282.2 points.
Due to steadily low cargo volumes, member shipping lines of the Asia Australia Discussion Agreement have cut shipping capacity by 10 to 30% to maintain freight rates. The freight index for services from China to Australia and New Zealand still fell by 5.2% m/m to 749.7 points.
The space utilisation rate of services from Shanghai port to Japan stood at around 60%, and the freight index at 676.1 points, down by 3.4%.