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Carriers expected to launch a November offensive to increase spot rates

NOVEMBER is expected to be a month for ocean carriers to push up container spot rates, according to Alexander Borulev, commodity associate at S&P Global Platts

Carriers expected to launch a November offensive to increase spot rates

NOVEMBER is expected to be a month for ocean carriers to push up container spot rates, according to Alexander Borulev, commodity associate at S&P Global Platts

29 October 2019 - 19:00

NOVEMBER is expected to be a month for ocean carriers to push up container spot rates, according to Alexander Borulev, commodity associate at S&P Global Platts.

Rates are 'no longer falling' due to the blanking programmes of the carriers, and they are preparing a raft of FAK and general rate increases for November, reports London's Loadstar.



Nevertheless, there was a small 2.4 per cent gain last week for the North European market, to US$594 per TEU, but this is still some 21 per cent below the level recorded by the index in the same week a year ago.



With reports of carriers still scrambling to fill their ships on the route, and load factors remaining stubbornly in the low 80 per cents, it was perhaps no surprise that the 2M Alliance confirmed this week it was extending the suspension of its AE2/Swan loop by two weeks, until the end of November.



In a customer advisory, Maersk said it was endeavouring to balance its network 'to match reduced demand'.



From Asia to the western Mediterranean, spot rates as recorded by the SCFI were stable, at $710 per TEU which is nine per cent lower than a year ago. According to the SCFI commentary, vessel utilisation levels on the route were at 85 per cent.



Meanwhile, undaunted by the threat of softening demand with the prospect of more tariffs on Chinese imports into the US, transpacific carriers are hitting shippers with a big GRI next week.



'The first week of November was when prices peaked for the season last year, driven by holiday sale stocking and a looming China trade tariff change,' noted Freightos CMO Eytan Buchman.



Mr Buchman argued that importers still had 'plenty of time' to front-load to beat the December 15 tariff changes and therefore expected to see demand-driven rate increases stick in November, but, he added they were 'far from sufficient to close the gap' on the pricing levels of last year.


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