Transpacific peak season surcharges hit spot rate using NVOCCs hardest
EVIDENCE shows Transpacific Stabilisation Agreement' s (TSA) recommended peak season surcharges have been unevenly applied with non-vessel operating carriers (NVOCC) having to pay higher rates than beneficial cargo owners on the Far East-US routes. Wednesday, 20.Jun.2012, 01:24 (GMT+3)
EVIDENCE shows Transpacific Stabilisation Agreement' s (TSA) recommended peak season surcharges have been unevenly applied with non-vessel operating carriers (NVOCC) having to pay higher rates than beneficial cargo owners on the Far East-US routes.
Because the NVOCC-dominated spot market bears the brunt of peak season surcharges, NVOCCs pay between US$600-$1,000 per FEU more than cargo owners do, says Alphaliner.
The spot market rates on the Far East-US routes jumped by US$414 per FEU in the last two weeks, according to the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI) report of June 15.
The sharp rise reflects carriers' partial success in applying the TSA's recommended peak season surcharge of $600 per FEU that took effect June 10. The SCFI Shanghai-USWC rate now stands at $2,739 per FEU, up from $1,418 per FEU in December last year, corresponding to a gain of 93 per cent over the last six months.
Alphaliner also said that in spite of the success in raising spot freight levels, the carriers' average revenue on the transpacific trade has lagged behind the SCFI's increases. The China Containerised Freight Index (CCFI) that measures average carrier revenue, shows rates to the US west coast have risen by only 29 per cent since December, with the peak season surcharges having little impact on revenue in the last two weeks.
Although vessel utilisation on the transpacific routes averaged over 95 per cent in April and May, and has been much stronger than on Far East-Europe trade lanes, where utilisation came to less than 90 per cent, carriers have not been able to push through with the full rate increases proposed by the TSA.
Carriers' earlier failure to carry out full proposed rate increases of $500 per FEU on new contracts for cargo owners starting from May 1 will have a negative impact for carriers with a high cargo owner vis-a-vis forwarder share. However, the carriers with higher NVOCC volumes will be the primary beneficiaries of the rise in the spot rates.
Alphaliner said the forwarder NVOCCs accounted for 39 per cent of Far East-US container volume in the first five months of 2012. Among the 16 largest carriers offering regular liner services on the transpacific route, MSC had the highest NVOCC participation with 74 per cent of its liftings coming from NVOCCs. APL, which has traditionally focused on the beneficial cargo owner market, had the lowest NVOCC participation at 22 per cent.
Five smaller carriers serving the transpacific route (PIL, UASC, Matson, Hainan POS and Wan Hai) have NVOCC shares of between 48 and 98 per cent, reflecting these niche carriers' heavier reliance on forwarders.