China-US Ocean Freight Trends
40′ container rates for China – US West Coast and China – US East Coast are still easing. This is expected as per standard spot rate seasonality which dictates gradual price easing between the Chinese New Year and peak-shipping season in late summer/early fall. Widely-reported carrier relief of higher pricing in 2017 may be tempered by the third consecutive week of China-East Coast pricing lower than last year and the first week of China-West Coast pricing lower than last year.
In the statistics corner…
China – US (Blended) is almost a composite of the other two groups but it actually increased slightly. This is not an error. The Freightos International Freight Indexes tracks the median of rates, not the mean, in order to reduce the impact of outliers. As a result, when a group is essentially a composite of two other groups with different medians (eg China – West Coast and China – East Coast), rate changes at the intersection of the two groups’ outliers can produce some surprising results.
Trans-Atlantic Ocean Rates
Although spot rates from the US to Europe haven’t changed markedly from last week, 2017 has been characterized by rapid fluctuations, especially when compared to the same period last year. Rates in the opposite direction continue their climb after bottoming out at $1,375 in early March.
After little change for the past three weeks, China-Europe shipping rates dropped slightly. It is still essentially following last year’s trend, a long slump following the peak shipping season, which should soon bottom out.