The members lines of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement recommended raising Asia-U.S. freight rates by at least $600 per-FEU starting Jan. 15 — a 26.6 percent increase over the current level.
The container carrier organization said the planned increase was part of an ongoing effort by members to reverse the decline in spot rates in the Asia-U.S. freight market.
The organization also advised that shipping companies should reinstate a $400 per-FEU peak season surcharge ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, with effect from Jan. 15.
Its members include 15 of the world’s biggest container shipping lines, including Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Company, CMA CGM, COSCO Shipping, and Hanjin Shipping, among others.
“It is critical, after another year of only very slight net gains at best, that carriers shore up rate levels and hold the line on rising costs as we head into a new contracting season and ramp up to meet Lunar New Year seasonal demand,” Executive Administrator Brian Conrad said in a statement.
Over 90 percent of the world’s trade is carried by sea, but freight rates plunged to unprofitable levels for most carriers in 2013 as a result of overcapacity in the market. That trend continued in the first six months of 2014.
Spot freight rates are calculated and published every week by Shanghai Shipping Exchange. Last week, FEU rates from Asia to the U.S. West Coast stood at $2,259.
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