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June01, 2015

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10 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE COVER STORY JUNE 1.2015 TOP 100 IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS By Peter T. Leach TH E R E S U LT S O F t he 2015-2016 trans-Pacific contracting season are mostly in, and although car - riers dug in their heels to get rate increases, for the most part they fell short of get ting what they wanted. Several beneficial cargo owners say rates on both legs of the trade between North Asia and the U.S. West Coast are flat or lower than last year when bunker fuel surcharges are factored into the rate. That mea n s unless the contracts call for general rate i nc r e a s e s , t r a n s - Pacific carriers won't be collecting higher rates from Asia to the West Coast, and only slight increases to the East Coast. The amount of the rate increases depends on the vol- ume shippers guarantee in their contracts. Under the freight deals that were concluded by May 1, the traditional start date for trans- Pacific contracts, all-in rates from North Asian ports to the U.S. West Coast are about the same as last year at $1,600 to $1,650 per 40-foot- equivalent container unit, according to a source close to the negotiations who provided average negotiated rates on the condition of anonymity. For all-water shipments from Asia to the East Coast, bigger importers have negotiated all-in rates including bunker charges of about $2,950 to $2,950 per FEU, up slightly from $2,700 to $2,750 per FEU last year. A carrier executive said the fig- ures for shipments to both coasts are "generally on track." The weekly Shanghai Container- ized Freight Index for spot rates on the trans-Pacific to both U.S. coasts declined for the week of May 15. The spot rate for shipments f rom Sha ngha i to the U.S. West Coast was $1,519 per FEU on May 15, dow n 7.8 percent from the previous week and 23.6 percent year- over-year. The spot rate from Shanghai to the East Coast was $3,215 per FEU, down 2.9 percent from the prior week and 6.1 percent less than a year earlier. The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, a discussion group of 15 major carriers, for the first time this year recommended rate floors for its members' annual contracts. But the average rates negotiated fell well below the TSA's recommended bot- tom of $2,000 per FEU from North Asian ports to the West Coast and $3,500 to the East Coast. "The dynamics are still poor, and Service contracts are coming in well below trans-Pacific operators' targets as capacity jumps and shippers rethink their distribution strategies

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