The world's biggest container shipping company Maersk Line, a unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk, said it planned to raise freight rates on routes from Asia to northern Europe by $450 per 20-foot container (TEU).
The new rates will take effect from Aug. 1, the company told Reuters in an email on Friday.
A container freight derivatives broker said most of the ten biggest container shipping companies are aiming for higher rates from Aug. 1, even though some have not issued statements.
Higher rates on the busiest freight routes between Asia and northern Europe would help companies, which have been struggling with overcapacity as a result of a weak global economy. Less than a handful of container shipping companies, Maersk included, posted profits last year.
Rate hikes announced so far include $550 per TEU by third-biggest container shipping company, France's CMA CGM; $1,000 per TEU by the sixth-largest, Germany's Hapag-Lloyd ; and $600 per TEU by eighth-largest player, Korea's Hanjin Shipping.
The full increases announced vary from 36 to 81 percent, but it is unusual for companies to manage to implement planned rises in full. Only 62 percent of announced price hikes for July 1 were implemented successfully.
On average, shipping freight spot rates between Asia and Northern Europe fell 5.5 percent to $1,230 per TEU in the week ended on Friday.
(By Ole Mikkelsen, editing by Jane Baird)