Market update – Westbound container freight Asia to Europe

Container shipping had a torrid time in 2016 with rates falling to record lows. However freight rates are forecast to rise moderately over the next year, 8% according to Drewry, but this will not be sufficient to rescue many shipping lines from record losses in 2016 which saw the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping one of the industry’s major players.

Post Chinese New Year, the Asia-Westbound trade will see a lot of changes as carriers with Carriers are taking action, forming new consortiums/alliances and large carriers taking over other carriers (Cosco/China Shipping, CMA/APL, Hapag Lloyd, UASC etc) to address the over-capacity as they attempt a recovery in freight rates. This will likely result in changes to advertised vessel schedules, over subscription, void sailing announcements due to 20% capacity reduction in February, and delays in arrivals at UK Ports.

We anticipate the situation will settle post Chinese New year. Our International team will monitor the situation closely and keep you advised of any issues affecting your shipments.

Stuart Tooze
Head of International