The Shanghai-to-Rotterdam container freight rate assessment from the World Container Index, a joint venture between Drewry and The Cleartrade Exchange, shows that container freight rates in the westbound Asia-Europe corridor increased by 114% on March 1.

Carriers in the key Asia-Europe headhaul trade had previously announced General Rate Increases (GRIs) in the region of US$700 to $800 per TEU (or US$1,400 to $1,600 per 40-foot container) effective March 1.

The World Container Index’s Shanghai-Rotterdam container freight rate sub-index went from $1,276 per 40-foot container on February 23 to $2,732 on March 1, a rise of $1,456.

Drewry’s director, Philip Damas, said, “The World Container Index assessed by Drewry tracks freight rates very closely and promptly and answers the question which everybody has been asking: will the huge General Rate Increases of carriers be accepted by the market?”

Mr. Damas added, “However, we will need to see whether these rate increases will stay or erode over time. Our view is that there will be a reduction of spot rates next week, but container shipping lines have withdrawn enough capacity from the Asia-Europe trade to support some net rate increases over a fair period of time.”

“Some opportunistic shippers and forwarders brought forward the time of shipments of their cargoes to avoid the March 1st GRI,” Mr. Damas said.

The World Container Index is based on actual agreed freight assessments reported in the middle of every week by a number of industry players located in Asia, Europe and the U.S.