Trans-Pacific spot rates rose this week from a 12-month low, suggesting that container lines won acceptance of some of the $600 general rate increase (GRI) imposed this week. Benchmark of spot rates from Hong Kong to Los Angeles climbed to $1,889 per 40-foot equivalent unit (FEU). It was a 15.3 percent increase from last week and 2.9 percent above the reading of a year ago.
The index reached a recent peak of $2,407 per FEU in December. 2015 has only produced two week-to-week increases as carriers continue to deal with the backed up cargo resulting from the labor disputes in the West Coast ports.
Under U.S. shipping law, carrier members of the Trans-Pacific Agreement (TSA) are able to discuss, with immunity from antitrust laws, pricing and related issues. However, since it is a discussion group, TSA has no enforcement powers and can only recommend rate hikes based on research and market analysis. Its member lines price their services independently and confidentially with their customers. Over the past two years, many of the TSA’s suggested rate hikes lasted a week or so before deteriorating steadily.