Asia – Europe spot rates up 200% year-on-year

Fridays, 4pm China time, are ringing in records for container shipping week in, week out.

The weekly publishing of the spot rates from the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index has seen prices for moving boxes across the seven seas leap in recent months.

Today’s latest figures show further price escalations on the Asia – Europe tradelane. Spot rates to North Europe were up 13.5% to $2,374 per teu and by 7.4% to $2,384 to the Mediterranean. Remarkably, year-on-year rates to North Europe are up 196.8% and by 209.2% to the Mediterranean.

Rates to the transpacific stayed steadily in record territory this week. Year-on-year rates to the US west coast are up 161.6% and to the east coast by 78.2%. Similarly intra-Asia this week was steady, however taken from a year-on-year perspective, rates around Southeast Asia are up by a sensational 390.5%.

While these are headline grabbing numbers, it is important to bear in mind that between 65% and 75% of all cargoes – dependent on tradelane – are moved on a contract basis, not via the spot market.

Nevertheless, as contract volumes run dry – as many are in this unexpected period of unbridled consumer demand – the balance tends to go to the spot market. The strong bull run will also play into liners’ hands when contract negotiations restart next year.

“One month away from the Asia-Europe new contract season the lines are going into this on the back of record spot rates and the real impact might then come next year with far higher contract rates,” commented Andy Lane from Singapore’s CTI Consultancy.