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Steep fall in Shanghai-Rotterdam spot rates

Asia – On the World Container Index, spot rates from Shanghai to Rotterdam have dropped to their lowest level in a year. Last week, the price for a 40-foot container was US$ 1600 – down 2.3% from the previous week. Since September 11, spot rates have dropped 40.5% or US$ 1090 per FEU, reports the Journal of Commerce.

Rates traced the same downward spiral in 2013 when they sank 48.6% between September 5 and October 31. In the first week of September, spot rates spiked 109% to US$ 2687 per FEU; since then, rates have dipped under US$ 2000 per container only six times, including three in the past three weeks.

For the past five months, spot rates have been consistently helped by monthly Asia-to-Europe general rate increases, only to give back any gains in the subsequent weeks. For example, the spot rate was US$ 2447 per FEU on May 8 but dropped 7.1% to US$ 2489 by the month′s end; and the price hit US$ 2877 on August 7 before sliding 25.3% or US$ 729 over a four-week period.

Back-haul rates from Rotterdam to Shanghai have also dropped 10% since September 18. The spot rate of US$ 759 per FEU was 14.6% lower than in the same week of 2013 and at its lowest point since the US$ 737 recorded on January 2.

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