Shipowners prefer spot rates to contracts

According to the latest WCI Drewry index published on 6 June, the rates on the route from Shanghai to Rotterdam were $ 6,032, up by 14% compared to the previous week. On the China to Genoa route, there was even a 17% increase to $ 6,664 per container.

The increase over the past two months is similar to the explosive rise in container shipping rates during the pandemic. On a year-on-year basis, the current freight rates are up by 315% on the route to Rotterdam and by 214% on the route to Genoa.

With the peak season just starting, demand for transport capacity will remain high.

The mismatch between long-term contract rates and skyrocketing spot rates also encourages shipowners to favour spot cargoes. Many importers complain that shipowners are shunning lower-priced contract cargoes in favour of goods bought at the current high spot rates. The Loadstar quotes a manager of an Asian import company as saying that shipowners only care about their own profits. Small shippers and freight forwarders tend to suffer the most.

Xeneta, a consulting company, wrote in late May that June should bring further rate increases on major routes from Asia to Europe and North America.