For the fifth consecutive week, average Asia-Europe spot rates fell, this week falling 12 percent ($350 per loaded FEU). Rates have been dropping dramatically in the second half of the year, due to low European demand caused by the recession and lowered vessel utilization rates.
The World Container Index (WCI) of spot rates has been dropping since July 5th, the last time the carriers implemented general rate increases. Since then, spot rate averages have tumbled 26 percent. In an effort to combat the falling prices, carriers are beginning to suspend some of their Asia-Europe services in order to cut down in capacity.
The WCI is down over 30 percent from its peak for the year of $3,878 per FEU (May 3rd, 2011). However, this week’s index is 109 percent higher than the WCI from the week of January 5th ($1,230 per FEU), and 72.6 percent higher than the WCI index found in the same week last year.