Shipping rates ‘stable’ in 2014: Maritime Cargo Services
Freight forwarding company, Maritime Cargo Services has made the point that while shipping costs have remained relatively stable in 2014, the past seven years have been marked by volatility. Freight forwarding specialist, Rob Shelley explains: “2008 saw the end of the Asia-Europe box cartel known as the Far Eastern Freight Conference. The FEFC was banned by the EU as it thought it anti-competitive. Its departure came as Asia Europe suffers historically low freight rates. It took with it stability with all the shipping lines in communication with one another.
“Since then prices have bounced up and down between $1,000 and $5,000 totally driven by supply and demand.
Having said this, Shelley explains that stability has been the trend over the past year: “2014 has seen rates pretty stable since March with rates between $2,000 and $3,000 up until the last week or so, with Golden week looming, and the subsequent halt in production has seen rates reduced to under $2,000 for the first couple of weeks in October.
“Going forward we expect rates to fluctuate with Christmas and the Chinese New Year approaching as they always have a direct effect on volumes and therefore price. The bigger and bigger ships being brought into service means the shipping lines increase their scale of economy which will reduce their slot container costs and hopefully this will help them remain viable in a market where they regularly operate at a loss.
“With such volatility it is incredibly important that you ensure your current provider acts accordingly when the rates go down so you enjoy any reductions immediately.”