Shipping containerized goods along transpacific routes is putting increasing financial strain on freight forwarders. They are forced to pay the ship owner three times more than their counterparts pay on the Asia-North Europe trade route.
This was disclosed by Alphaliner, in a report highlighting how carriers are now asking North American freight forwarders $0.64 per nautical mile to ship a container from Asia to Los Angeles. North European importers, on the other hand, are spending much less – $0.19 per nautical mile – to ship goods from Shanghai to Antwerp.
The increased demand for ocean freight has – most likely – not been followed by a proportionate increase in available cargo space by shipowners. According to the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index, the Asia-Los Angeles spot freight at the moment stands at $3,758 per FEU.
“The profits per nautical mile on the Asia-USWC route are three times greater than those on the Asia-North Europe trade route . This figure is extraordinary” – Alphaliner points out – “especially if we consider that the outlay of resources, in terms of ships and equipment, is less on shorter routes.”
A link service between the Far East and Northern Europe requires about 12 ships, twice as many as those needed for transpacific loops.
Last week, all nine routes covered by SCFI saw a sharp rise in freight rates due to increased demand for ocean freight: shippers are trying to import as much cargo as possible from China before the Golden Week holiday period begins, scheduled for early next month.
The trade route between Shanghai and Lagos is the second most expensive, with $0.58 per nautical mile, followed by the Shanghai-Melbourne route where freight forwarders asked to pay $0.48 per nautical mile.
Translation by Giles Foster