With new ULCVs on the horizon, another Asia-Europe loop was 'inevitable'
With its member lines receiving a large number of newbuild ULCVs this year the addition ...
Asia-Europe ocean carriers from have announced further hikes in their FAK rates this month after successfully pushing through 1 January spot rate increases.
Alphaliner said rates on the route “remained firm in December, despite the resumption of the 2M’s AE2/Swan service”.
Hapag-Lloyd said that on 16 January, “due to strong demand”, it was increasing its FAK rates from Asia to North Europe and the west Mediterranean to $2,200 per 40ft.
Maersk Line has increased its FAK rates to $2,300 per 40ft and CMA CGM has will raise its FAK rate by $200 to $2,400 per 40ft from 15 January.
This follows a surge in spot rates in the final week of last year, which saw the North Europe component of the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) leap 14.2% to $996 per teu, with spot rates for Mediterranean ports jumping 15.3% to $967 per teu.
There was no further increase for North Europe in today’s SCFI, although the Mediterranean saw a further increase of 3.1% to $997 per teu.
Moreover, since 1 January, carriers are implementing new bunker surcharge formulae, based on October/November fuel prices, which were a third higher than they are currently, at around $320 per tonne. So shippers should see the fuel surcharge element of their rates reduce in the coming months in line with the decline in bunker costs.
However, one UK forwarder told The Loadstar he “remained to be convinced” that carriers would adjust their BAFs.
“If space is still tight, they will no doubt just up the FAKs to compensate,” he said.
Indeed, carriers on the route are claiming to be “running full” this month, ahead of the Chinese New Year early next month, and one liner source told The Loadstar this week it was even considering another FAK hike for 1 February.
Elsewhere, the bear run on transpacific spot rates, which has seen prices tumble 32% and 24% respectively for Asia to the US west and east coasts since early November, was halted in the final week of 2018. In week 52, the SCFI recorded a 6.8% increase in spot rates for the west coast , to $1,883 per 40ft, and for east coast ports there was a jump of 9%, to $2,998 per 40ft.
The momentum continued this week, with the SCFI recording a 2.7% uplift for rates to the west coast to $1,933and to the US east coast by 4% to $3,119.
One analyst told The Loadstar today the recovery in the transpacific rates was a mixture of pre-Chinese New Year and tariff increase factors. There are mixed signals from the White House and Beijing on the possibilities of a new trade deal before the expiry of the 90-day grace period for the higher duty to kick in.
Phase 2 of the implementation of 25% tariffs on the import of over 5,700 Chinese goods is currently set for 2 March.