Premium rates from China no longer mandatory as space opens up

All-inclusive container shipping rates were in a wide range for shipments from North and Southeast Asia to North America as the urgency of loading time was the main determinant in how much a shipper would expect to pay.

Container premium rates on the Southeast Asia to North America route remained largely stable during the week as a slight dip in exports from China was offset by a rush to make timely bookings ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays beginning Feb. 1.

On the Southeast Asia-to-East Coast North America route, all-inclusive prices were heard in the $19,000-$20,000/FEU range, while premium rates for shipments to the West Coast of North America were at $15,000-$16,000/FEU.

Container freight plus premium service fees from China were little changed in the week to Nov. 11 at $14,000-$16,000/FEU to the East Coast of North America and $10,000-$12,000/FEU to the East Coast. But there were also pockets of space periodically available at base Freight All Kinds rates, a development that suggests that Chinese exporters were facing production issues stemming from widespread power shortages.

“China’s electrical issues might be more than publicized. President Xi Jinping told the country to stockpile food and necessities as people experience blackouts and brownouts,” a freight forwarder based in the US Midwest said. “One thing that can finally bring prices down is a lack of export volumes, and with production lead times of 30-45 days from when energy rationing to factories began, we could be seeing those effects hitting around now.”

The freight forwarder added that more bookings from China are being amended to a later date because the cargoes were not completed and ready to ship, something that only occasionally happened prior to October.

Premium rates for sailings from China could start to ease as soon as next week if export volumes show further signs of waning, but shippers from Vietnam and Singapore face a lack of service options as carriers devote a larger share of their capacity to Chinese exports, market sources said.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News


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