After freight rates in the Asia-to-Europe container trade increased fourfold from December 2011 to now, it seems that the Asia-Europe carrier rates have finally reached their peak. Between December of last year and late April, spot pricing went from $490 per 20-foot equivalent (TEU) to $1,934 per TEU.
However, it seems the truce in the rate war between ocean carriers has ceased as forward rates have dipped going into May. Many carriers simply cannot agree on the state of the market, with many of them itching to deploy their new 10,000 plus TEU ships, most of which would enter the Far East-Europe trade lanes. With demand still recovering and new ships entering the market, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the Asia-Europe trade rates continue to dip going into the second half of 2012. Stay tuned as more develops.