The Spot container freight rates from North Europe to China have peaked at a four-year high by jumping 45% last week.
The market reading on the route from Rotterdam to Shanghai reached USD 1,076 per 40ft dry container on March 9, from USD 740 last week.
“Our sources reported that ships are currently full and that carriers have demanded much higher rates – only some prior rate agreements remain in place,” Philip Damas, head of Drewry’s logistics practice, said.
The route from Europe to Asia is not historically one to throw up such impressive rates. Typically, vessels would have load factors of less than 70%, which makes the current spikes in rate levels and capacity shortages all the more impressive.
The reason for such an increase could be the capacity crunch, boosted by cancelled sailings in China following Chinese New Year, which has now reached Europe.
By contrast, rates on the route from China to North Europe continue to level off, with reported average prices of USD 1,643 per 40ft container, down from USD 1,756 last Thursday and USD 2,212 on January 12.