The Asian-European freight index exploded 114 percent over the last week of February. The rate to ship a 40-foot-equivalent (FEU) from Shanghai to Rotterdam rose from $1,276 to $2,732 according to the World Container Index (WCI). All the major carriers have increased westbound rates by $700 through $800 per 20-foot-equivalent (TEU), and some have followed Maersk Line’s decision to apply a second increase of $400 per TEU on April 1st.
Analysts predict the carriers will be able to maintain these higher rates as long as they keep control over capacity over the next few months. Carriers have withdrawn capacity by 14 percent since last June, but are expected to restore much of what was deactivated by the summer season.