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Shanghai Containerized Freight Index Collapses: China-US Rates Hit Hard, China-Europe Rates Plunge to All-Time Low

Shanghai Containerized Freight Index Collapses: China-US Rates Hit Hard, China-Europe Rates Plunge to All-Time Low

First was the Baltic Dry Index, which tracks rates for transporting the major raw materials in bulk by sea. Reflecting the totally battered global commodities market, it crashed to an all-time low in February, though it has since edged up a tiny bit.

Now, containerized shipping rates are taking a majestic drubbing, and those from China to Europe have collapsed to all-time lows.

The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) that tracks shipping rates from Shanghai to Northern European ports plunged 14% from last week to $399 per twenty-foot container equivalent unit (TEU), down a vertigo-inducing 67% from the glory days just a year ago. It was the 11th week in a row of declines, and it set a new all-time low.

The index is now half of the key rate of $800 per TEU that a report by Drewry Maritime Research, released on April 19, considers the break-even rate for these routes even at the currently lower fuel costs. This leaves carriers deeply in the red.

The Asia-Mediterranean routes have experienced a similar collapse in shipping rates. The SCFI for these routes plunged 11% from a week ago to $540 per TEU, down 60% year over year, also setting a new all-time low.

The link between the global economy, external trade, and the shipping industry is clearly felt in the freight market, explained Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the world’s largest international shipping association.

He blamed an oversupply of ships, including “the continued inflow of new ultra-large container ships on the Far East to Europe trades,” and the deteriorating exports from China so far this year.

 

 

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