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Logistics
Asia-US spot rates enter an abyss ahead of looming capacity surge
Date:2018-03-13 Readers:
EASTBOUND Pacific spot rates have dropped below US$1,000 per 40-foot container to the US west coast and $2,000 per FEU to the east coast despite relatively strong imports and ahead of a major containership capacity injection.

Two cargo consolidators told JOC.com they are seeing spot rate offers of $900 per FEU to the west coast and $1,900 to the east coast. The rates are down from $1,143 to the west coast and $2,181 to the east coast earlier this month, according to the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index.



Capacity in the eastbound Pacific this year is forecast to rise by eight to nine per cent against anticipated demand of five to six per cent, according to Alphaliner. Yet, shippers are paying more for intermodal rail, drayage and over-the-road trucking services, with some container lines resisting their exposure to store-door contracts.



Spot rates are at their lowest since 2016 when the global liner trades hit bottom and Hanjin Shipping filed for bankruptcy protection.



"After last year's Lunar New Year, prices did more than drop, they collapsed. There are signs that could happen again," said Freightos CEO Zvi Schreiber, who noted that carriers in the coming months are scheduled to take delivery of dozens of large new vessels, 80 per cent of the newbuilds are due to be delivered by July.



This development tends to support the notion that carriers are struggling to manage capacity since imports so far this year have increased dramatically. Los Angeles port reported a 28 per cent increase in imports in February compared to February 2017, while Long Beach registered an increase of 37 per cent.



Commenting on Long Beach's record volume in February, executive director Mario Cordero said: "A month like this is now the new normal. We expect a lull in March as East Asian nations celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday, and then a rebound in April."
Back:  UK's top airports see air cargo growth in February, except Manchester
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