Shipping freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe fell by 23 percent to $332 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended on Friday, one source with access to data from the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index told Reuters.
The current level is widely seen as a loss-making for container shipping companies that transport everything from flat-screen TVs to sportswear from Asia to Northern Europe.
In the week to Friday, container freight rates dropped 24.2 percent from Asia to ports in the Mediterranean, fell 19.0 percent to ports on the U.S. West Coast and were down 11.4 percent to ports on the U.S. East Coast.
Copenhagen-based Maersk Line, the global market leader with a market share around 15 percent and part of Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk, reported earlier in February a loss of $182 million for the fourth quarter. It was the first time since the first quarter of 2012 it reported a negative quarterly result.
The Danish shipping company controls around one fifth of all transported containers from Asia to Europe.
(Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen, editing by Terje Solsvik)