No end in sight for container shipping free fall

Container shipping indicators continue to plumb new depths with no bottom in sight for the hard-pressed sector.

The World Container Index’s composite index, an average of spot freight rates on the main East-West box tradelanes, reached a record low of $701 per feu yesterday. This is the lowest since the index Moreover, the index rate assessments for the Shanghai-Rotterdam and the Shanghai-Genoa routes have fallen to all-time lows of $354 and $341 per feu, respectively.

“The World Container Index’s composite index is now 60% lower than the average of the past five years and has decreased by 62% in the past year,” said Richard Heath, director of WCI.

In another sign of the dire times for the sector, it has just been revealed that the fleet of idled container ships of more than 500 teu has hit a new six-year high.

There were 346 ships without work as of Febuary 22, up from 306 two weeks earlier, according to Alphaliner. The laid up ships account for 1.43m teu or 7.1% of the global fleet.

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.
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