16. agosto 2019

Carriers bemoan low ocean freight rates

For several months now, sea freight rates on the route from China to Northern Europe have been at a low level. The comminssioning of several Megamax ships, coupled with a weakening global economy, has led to furher overcapacity and made it more difficult for shipping lines to increase freight rates. The cancellation of several departures and the resulting artificial shortage of cargo space did not lead to the desired result either. According to Alphaliner data, a total of 42 departures were cancelled in the first three quarters of this year, compared to 16 empty trips in the same period last year.

In order to counteract the dwindling revenues, some shipping lines use the so-called rolling of containers. The container does not leave the port of loading with the planned departure, but is simply transferred to a later departure. This is usually justified with the fact that there are overbookings that require the containers to be rolled. The container can be shipped with the planned ship for a hefty surcharge. Alternatively the following departure falls within a period during which higher rates can be achieved in the short term. It is reasonable to assume that the shipping lines are acting in a targeted manner.