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Long-term contracted sea freight rates hold firm: Xeneta

LONG-TERM ocean freight rates are currently standing firm despite the upheaval caused by the coronavirus outbreak that is casting a dark shadow over the outlook for the global container shipping industry this year

02 March 2020 - 19:00

LONG-TERM ocean freight rates are currently standing firm despite the upheaval caused by the coronavirus outbreak that is casting a dark shadow over the outlook for the global container shipping industry this year.

According to the latest XSI Public Indices report from Xeneta, freight rates increased by 0.5 per cent, marking the fourth straight month of increases. The global index now stands 6.8 per cent up year on year, and 2.8 per cent up since the start of 2020, a company statement said.



The XSI utilises 160 million data points, covering 160,000 port-to-port pairings, to 'take the temperature' of the global industry.



'The shipping industry, like much of the rest of society, has been rocked by coronavirus,' said Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund. 'It is operating as a major disruptive force, derailing supply chains and impacting on both exports and imports across the board.



'Reports suggest that vessels leaving China have been sailing with utilisation rates of less than 20 per cent, despite the fact that a huge amount of tonnage has been removed from the market. Maersk alone reported it had dropped more than 50 sailings from Chinese ports since late January. A huge amount of business has been lost.'



He continued: 'A complex range of factors - including quarantine times, a lack of workers at key ports and throughout supply chains, and travel restrictions - are working as one to disrupt the status quo, causing severe issues for those reliant on the supply of goods from China.



In the spot market, Mr Berglund added that Xeneta's platform reported a decrease of 20-25 per cent since the start of the year in the market average rate for a 40-foot container from China to north Europe and China to the US west coast.



'It's often the case that the long-term market follows short-term price movements. In that respect we anticipate that long-term rates will also begin to decrease in March. In fact, we already have some reports of slight decreases in the negotiated contracts coming into our platform from our leading global shippers.'



The general trend for February was positive but mixed, with distinct fluctuations from region to region.


WORLD SHIPPING

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