Asia-N.Europe Box Rates Plunge 23.6 pct Last Week

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 18, 2015

File image: a containership docked at a U.S. West Coast Terminal.

File image: a containership docked at a U.S. West Coast Terminal.

Shipping freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe dropped 23.6 percent to $658 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended on Friday, data from the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index showed.

The drop in freight rates on the world's busiest shipping route had been widely predicted following a short-lived surge in spot rates in the previous week.

Last week's level was 49 percent lower than in the same period of 2014.

In the week to Friday, container freight rates plunged 22.6 percent from Asia to ports in the Mediterranean, fell 7.8 percent to ports on the U.S. West Coast and were down 2.9 percent to ports on the U.S. East Coast.

Chief Executive Nils Smedegaard Andersen of A.P. Moller-Maersk, which owns the world's largest container shipping company, Maersk Line, told Reuters last week that the container freight market remains bad but stable after five years of weakness.

"We do not sign longer container freight contracts only to be covered. If we are not able to make money on contracts, we prefer to be exposed to the spot market," he said.

Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen

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