Drewry Shipping Consultants has predicted that average container freight rates, including fuel surcharges, will rise by about 15 per cent in 2010 when compared to 2009.
The average global container freight rates rose in late 2009 compared to the previous year and for the first time since mid-2008.
This comes amid allegations from shippers in the US that their containers have in recent weeks been getting "rolled" in China, as carriers are said to be removing boxes to make way for those paying more or those owned by larger shippers.
"We’re also seeing a lot of rollovers," said Mr Pat Moffett, Vice-President of global logistics for electronics importer Audiovox.
The Drewry Global Freight Rate Index recovered by three per cent in the year to November 2009, after collapsing in the first half of 2009.
From September and November, the global "all-in" container freight rate index increased from $ 2,040 per FEU to $ 2,160. On the other hand, Drewry said average global freight rates in late 2009 were about 20 per cent less than the peak experienced in 2007.
"On routes such as Asia to Europe, the year-on-year increase in spot rates amounts to at least 40 per cent, and we know from shippers that they are asked to agree to much higher rates under annual contracts renewed in early 2010," said Mr Philip Damas, Director of Drewry Supply Chain Advisors.
"January and February are a critical period for many shippers because a high proportion of annual contracts are renewed then," he said as Drewry published its December 2009 Container Freight Rate Insight report.
Drewry maintains that the potential for further increases in spot freight rates is generally limited barring the transpacific trade after container shipping lines introduced an emergency rate charge of $ 400 per FEU, starting from January 15, to offset losses suffered on this trade lane.
Its consultants are hence forecasting a sharp rise in spot transpacific rates from mid-January, "as new capacity reductions can still stimulate some significant rate recovery in that trade," reported American Shipper, adding that a "tighter supply-demand balance should push up transpacific spot rates in early 2010 despite the growing percentage of the fleet being laid up."
As for contract freight rates Drewry anticipates they will rise significantly compared to the low levels of previous contract deals.
The report also noted that emergency rate increases implemented by container shipping lines participating in the Transpacific Stabilisation Agreement, are taking hold across the board, according to US importers.
Source: Exim News Service