Shipping prices double between Europe and Far East

24 June 2016

Shipping rates on routes between the Far East and Northern Europe have almost doubled since March, according to a report.

Consultancy Xeneta said short-term rates for a 40-foot container on the Far East Asia-North European corridor had increased from $552 in March to $1,218 on 23 June.

Prices have also risen year-on-year, up from US$933 on 23 June in 2015, while costs were volatile during quarter four of last year.

Xeneta CMO Katherine Barrios said: “There’s been a lot of rollercoaster there, up and down. But if we completely compare directly to last year at the same time the prices are higher than 12 months ago.”

She said buyers faced the risk of “short-shipping” as prices rose, because shipping companies would prioritise containers bought at higher rates over those on lower long-term contracts.

“That’s not an advantage for shippers naturally because that could mean they lose out on inventory, their cargo is rolled, it’s not arriving on time. That has implications for them as well… To them it’s actually more important to get their inventory and not be at the grace of the shipping lines,” said Barrios.

Concerning freight across the Pacific, Barrios said it was too soon to tell if there has been a recovery.

“We are seeing a recovery in the market. We don’t see that it’s going to skyrocket immediately but it is beneficial for the entire industry for the prices to get healthier,” said Barrios.

Barrios attributed lower prices primarily to overcapacity in the shipping market. “There’s too much space on the ships basically, so they’re taking any boxes they can really get to fill that up,” she said.

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