Asia-Europe Rates, Volumes Surge.
Ocean container freight rates are surging on key Asia-Europe trade routes as traffic rebounds from a year-long downturn and carriers cull capacity. Spot container rates from China to North Europe have risen by 68 percent since October, according to Alphaliner, the Paris-based container shipping consultant.
The European Liner Affairs Association said its westbound price index rose to 90 in December from a low of 48 in March, while the eastbound index closed the year at 89.
Westbound traffic from Asia to Europe rose 9.5 percent in December from a year ago, taking volume for the year to just over 11.5 million 20-foot units, down 14.8 percent from the 13.49 million TEUs carried in 2008, the ELAA said in its latest market report.
Eastbound traffic increased by 46 percent in December from a year ago to the highest monthly total in 2009 and higher than any monthly figure in 2008, the Brussels-based ocean carrier group said.
Eastbound traffic rose 4.5 percent in 2009 to 5.47 million TEUs from 5.23 million TEUs in the previous year driven by a year-on-year increase of over 30 percent in the fourth quarter.