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Container rate contagion spreads to Latin America

The latest spot rates published by the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI) today show prices inching upwards on the main transpacific and Asia-Europe tradelanes, but spiralling by record heights from Shanghai to the east coast of Latin America.

Rates on many tradelanes have been hitting record territory in recent weeks as carriers’ blanked sailing policy has paid off handsomely.

This week rates from Shanghai to Brazil’s top port of Santos shot up by a record 26% to $3,646 per feu. The $745 increase was more than twice last week’s $368 increase, which itself was a record spike, showing the incredibly volatile pricing environment shippers face in the final months of 2020.

Rates from Shanghai to West Africa and on the transpacific to the west coast are also at record highs while other tradelanes such as Asia-Australia and Asia-South Africa have seen record spikes this month.

The record spot rates seen on the transpacific to the west coast in recent weeks have sparked alarm in China, South Korea and the US.

Beijing has stepped in over the past week demanding carriers add more capacity on the trade lane and ease price increases, with both state-run Cosco – and its affiliate OOCL – and Maersk agreeing to the Chinese government measures. The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in Washington also met this week to take a look at the situation.

On the Latin American spike, Andy Lane, a container analyst with Singapore’s CTI Consultancy, told Splash today: “It seems that potential intervention by authorities on rates has been interpreted as being limited to the transpac tradelane, as rates to Latin America shot up by a quarter this week. We wait to see if there is any further reaction to that.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Need to the Analytical report on Box prices and port congestion report for smooth export
    Need to know the freight rate from Chittagong, Bangladesh to VALPARAISO, & From Chittagong,Bangladesh to ARICA,CHILE

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