Pacific carriers to press for rates rise.
CONTAINER lines operating services across the Pacific from the US to Asia are targeting another round of rate increases.
Members of the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement have advised customers of plans to ask for higher rates from April 1 as part of their continued efforts to restore prices after a sharp drop in the second half of 2009. The 10-member group said rates on this route were at the same levels as in early 2008.
Lines intend to raise dry cargo rates by $300 per 40 ft and $240 per 20 ft box. Carriers are also proposing that refrigerated cargo rates are lifted at the same time by $300 per 40 ft and $240 per 20 ft box for US west coast cargo, and by $500 and $400 respectively for all other cargo, including mini-landbridge, inland intermodal and all-water shipments from US east and Gulf coast ports.
?Despite modest improvements in cargo demand and rates in recent months, all carriers continue to lose money in both directions between the US and Asia,? said WTSA executive administrator Brian Conrad. ?This has put sustained pressure on the westbound backhaul segment of the market to make its full contribution to roundtrip costs, particularly given cargo imbalance, equipment repositioning and other constraints unique to the trade.?
Members of the WTSA, which is a voluntary discussion and research forum, include APL, Evergreen, Hanjin Shipping and Hapag-Lloyd.
Spot freight rates on the headhaul eastbound corridor are already moving sharply upwards as lines keep a tight grip on ship capacity in preparation for the annual round of contract negotiations that will begin in the coming weeks, ahead of the May 1 renewal date for most cargo.