The composite Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) stood at 995.16 points in Week 6, which went down 1.2% from the previous week, according to the Shanghai Shipping Exchange (SSE). It was the first time in two years and eight months the SCFI, an indicator for spot rates for container exports from Shanghai that do not include terminal handling charges (THCs), had fallen below the 1,000-point line. The index, which was set at 1,000 points on Oct. 16, 2009, has plunged 80% since reaching 5,109 points in January 2022.

At a time when transport demand remained weak in Week 6, supply chain disruptions improved so rapidly at to worsen the supply-demand imbalance, exercising more downward pressure on freight rates. Spot rates increased on the routes to the Middle East Gulf, South America and other Asian economies but decreased on those to North America and Europe.

More specifically, spot rates were sluggish on the routes to both the east and west coast of North America, waning 5.7% to $2,553 FEU and 5.1% to $1,293 per FEU, respectively. As demand is still weak, shipping lines are expected to continue blank sailings until the end of the month.

Spot rates slid 3.7% to $1,925 per TEU on the trade to Europe and 1.7% to $1,724 per TEU on that to the Mediterranean. As rate falls accelerate, operators increase slot exchanges with non-alliance members to raise load factors and launch more services to hike fleet operations.

On north-south trade lanes, spot rates increased 8.8% to $1,132 per TEU for exports to the Middle East Gulf and 5.6% to $1,522 per TEU for those to South America. On the other hand, rates decreased 6.1% for containers to Australia and New Zealand. Spot rates declines for those to Africa as well.

In intra-Asia waters, spot rates improved 2.1% to $333 per TEU on the route to Japan's Kansai region and 2.2% to 324 per TEU on that to Kanto. Rate rose 3.3% to $155 per TEU for containers to Southeast Asia and 7.1% to $226 per TEU for those to South Korea. On the intra-Asia trade, carriers continue to launch new services and revamp existing services, intensifying competition over cargo.




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