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Container rates continue to gain ground

Container shipping lines continued their fight back last week as all-in spot rates on all four main east-west trade lanes continued to increase as vessel utilisation levels remained steady.

The latest figures from the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI), which is produced by the Shanghai Shipping Exchange (SSE), show prices on services from Shanghai to Europe hit US$828 per teu last week, up $5 on the previous week, while on services from Shanghai to the Mediterranean rates jumped to $1,019 per teu, up $53.

Meanwhile, on services from Shanghai to the US west coast, all-in spot rates jumped $11 on the previous week to reach $794 per teu and prices to the east coast jumped $25 to reach $1,565 per teu.

The SSE said the increases on services from Asia to Europe were caused by vessel utilisation rates remaining at around the 90% mark.

It is the third consecutive week that prices on the trade have increased. But at $828 per teu, they have some way to recover, after beginning the year at around $1,400.

Container derivatives broker Clarkson Securities described the increase in prices as "better than expected".

Yet, it added that "shippers are uncertain about the longevity of this upwards movement, given the weak market fundamentals".

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