Shipping spot freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe fell 8.7 percent to $211 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended on Friday, one source with access to data from the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index told Reuters.
This was the second lowest spot freight rate on the world’s busiest trade lane since the Index began in 2009. The lowest rates were offered in June 2015 at $205 per TEU.
It was also the ninth consecutive week of falls. The average level this year so far is $592.57 per TEU compared to the average of the same period last year at $990 per TEU.
The current level is widely seen as loss-making for container shipping companies like Danish Maersk Line, Switzerland-based MSC, French CMA CGM and German Hapag Lloyd .
In the week to Friday, container freight rates fell 14 percent from Asia to ports in the Mediterranean, fell 8.4 percent to ports on the U.S. West Coast and were down 5.2 percent to ports on the U.S. East Coast.
Maersk Line, the global market leader with a market share around 15 percent and part of Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk, reported in February a loss of $182 million for the fourth quarter. It was the first time since the first quarter of 2012 it reported a negative quarterly result.
The Danish shipping company controls around one fifth of all transported containers from Asia to Europe.