Spot container freight rates from North Europe to China have reached a four-year high as they jumped by 45% this week, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.
The market reading on the route from Rotterdam to Shanghai reached USD 1,076 per 40ft dry container on March 9, from USD 740 last week.
“Our sources reported that ships are currently full and that carriers have demanded much higher rates – only some prior rate agreements remain in place,” Philip Damas, head of Drewry’s logistics practice, said.
Drewry informed that it is “highly unusual” for the route from Europe to Asia, where vessels normally have load factors of less than 70%, to see such spikes in rate levels and capacity shortages.
The reason for such an increase could be the capacity crunch, boosted by cancelled sailings in China following Chinese New Year, which has now reached Europe.
By contrast, rates on the route from China to North Europe continue to level off, with reported average prices of USD 1,643 per 40ft container, down from USD 1,756 last Thursday and USD 2,212 on January 12.