Multiple carriers have planned rate increases in various trade lanes in April and May, although any gains achieved could be temporary as overcapacity and lackluster global demand continues.
However, the container shipping industry’s supply and demand gap is narrowing this year, according to investment firm Jefferies, which could help carriers improve their cost-effectiveness. As the rate-negotiation seasons begins following a difficult fall of 2013, carriers may be able to negotiate modest contract rate increases on the trans-Pacific, according to Esben Christensen, director of global maritime practice at AlixPartners. Still, there are signs that shippers are proving able to hold the line on rates in the negotiations. Gemini Shippers Association president recently said that the trans-Pacific contracts her association has signed so far contain no rate increases.
Hapag-Lloyd aims to increase rates on cargo from the Indian subcontinent and Middle East to Mexico, Central America, South America’s west coast, Panama and the Caribbean by $200 per 20-foot container and $300 per 40-foot container, effective April 15.
Three carriers have announced rate hikes in this trade lane, effective May 1:
- Maersk Line hopes to boost rates on its trade from the Middle East, India and Pakistan to the U.S. and Canada by $225 per 20-foot container, $300 per 40-foot container, $350 per 40-foot high-cube container and $375 per 45-foot container.
- Hapag-Lloyd intends to raise rates on eastbound shipments from the Indian subcontinent to the U.S. and Canada by $160 per 20-foot container and $300 per 40-foot, 40-foot high-cube and 40-foot refrigerated container.
- U.S. Lines hopes to hike rates by $320 per 20-foot container, $400 per 40-foot container and $450 per 40-foot high-cube container on cargo from Asia to the U.S. and Canada.
Maersk plans to implement a rate increase for cargo from the U.S. East Coast to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, effective May 1. The hike will be $175 per 20-foot container and $350 per container.
Last week, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and U.S. Lines scheduled the same rate increase.
The Journal of Commerce