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Trans-Pacific Spot Rate Jumps 27.6 percent

Increase comes after Trans-Pacific Stabilization Agreement pushed rate increase

Shipping PortAverage trans-Pacific spot rates jumped in the first week of the New Year as the carrier members of the Trans-Pacific Stabilization Agreement put a rate increase of $400 per 40-foot equivalent container unit into effect on eastbound containers as of Jan. 1.

The Drewry benchmark for shipping an FEU from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, which had been flat to down since the first week in November, jumped to $1,832, which is 27.6 percent, or $396, higher than the previous week.

Whether the TSA price increase will stick in the face of slack demand and persisting overcapacity remains to be seen. The last time carriers tried to collect a higher rate in the first week of November, the Drewry benchmark jumped by 4.3 percent for one week and then resumed its slide, hitting a 23-month low by the end of November.

This week’s benchmark is still 13.6 percent lower than the average spot rate of $2,119 per FEU that carriers were charging in the first week of 2011.

Drewry bases its spot rate benchmark on an average of rates it collects on an aggregated basis from non-vessel-owning common carriers. The benchmark includes most surcharges except terminal handling fees at the port of origin.