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            october 18, 2019

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Box shipping rates come under pressure amid softer demand


Uncertainties in the trade environment and weak summer demand are being blamed for the decline in freight rates, with the Asia to the west coast of North America rate dropping to US$1,436 per FEU, down from US$1,470 per FEU earlier in June.
The Freightos Baltic Global Container Index ended June 21 at $1,307 per FEU, down from $1,362 per FEU at the beginning of June, reported New York's FreightWaves.
The Ningbo Shipping Exchange says demand remains stable on the Asia to North America trade lane as 'most liner companies adopted a wait-and-see attitude" on rates. "But a small number of liner companies with poor loading rates reduced freight rates slightly for market share," the Ningbo Shipping Exchange was cited as saying.
The draft restrictions introduced for the Panama Canal are also helping to hold rates steady as shippers opt for a US west coast transit rather than call at ports on the US east coast.
The ocean liners are hoping to see a better July. General rate increases of $1,000 per FEU are being proposed, according to international freight forwarder A N Deringer.
S&P Global's Container Freight Market report expects container rates to remain at current levels until at least the middle of July.
On the other hand, poor demand over the summer has prompted some carriers to scrap some port calls during July.
Ocean Alliance, the largest carrier in the trans-Pacific market, plans to drop a July 13 sailing eastbound from Fuqing, China and returning westbound from Los Angeles August 4, according to UK-based PR News Service. That service has weekly vessel capacity of 14,000 TEU.
Another Ocean Alliance service, which has a weekly capacity of 10,800 TEU, cancelled eastbound sailings from Yantian, China on July 1 and July 15.

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