There were also reports that shippers were failing to deliver the cargo promised to carriers, which has aggravated the rate decline further, reported London's Containerisation International.
"We believe rates have hit the bottom, but do not expect them to pick up in the peak season. The ratio of inventory to sales is very low and there is the strong possibility that retailers will have to replenish stock so volumes should be better than they have been," said Drewry's top liner analyst Philip Damas.
SeaIntel consultancy CEO Lars Jensen said he was not surprised that shippers were walking away from contract commitments. "I'm surprised we have only heard about it now - this has gone on for years. If market rates crash, shippers demand low rates, carriers won't oblige so customers walk away, which is not good for shipper/carrier relations."
Mr Jensen said that if shippers don't come up with the volumes, then carriers will have to sail half full. "This situation has definitely been bad for the past eight months," he said.