The recent rate freeze announced by CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd has given shippers a hope that more carriers will follow their lead. Market sources expect some relief from the skyrocketing container freight might be on the horizon.
Industry experts believe that price freeze will result in the influx of new customers for the two carriers. "To me this is a quick jump on the bandwagon to address deteriorated customer relationships in a longer [term] perspective," said Bilal Khan, Enterprise Sales Leader, Pakistan at digital logistics platform HashMove.
Another freight forwarder, based in India, believes that the large carriers may have lost some of their business to the small players and the shipping lines that are outside of the three major alliances. "Now that all these companies are cash rich, one thing they will do is use it against each other--either by buying some companies or cutting their profit margins to challenge the others."
However, schedule reliability remains a top concern for shippers, alongside freight rates.
Spglobal.com reports that, according to Platts data, the current FAK rate on the highly active North Asia to West Coast North America route is $9,000 per forty-foot equivalent unit, or FEU, compared to the all-inclusive premium rate which is between $15,000-$22,000 per FEU.
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