The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) breached the 3,000 point mark for the first time ever last week, following five consecutive weeks of increases.
The index, which shows the evolution of average spot rates for Chinese exports, had already risen the previous week from 2,571 points on 26 March to 2,980 points on 23 April.
Following that, the index then jumped again to a new record of 3,100 points last Friday (30 April).
Rates on all major East West trades ex China now stand at their highest levels since the launch of the index by the Shanghai Shipping Exchange back in October 2009.
Average spot rates between Shanghai and North European base ports were reported to have reached USD 4,630 per teu (which means USD 9,260 per 40’ container), thus increasing 7% compared to the week before and breaching the previous record of USD 8,904 set on 8 January.
Despite the shorter sailing distance, spot rates between Shanghai and the West Med were even higher at USD 9,410 per feu, up 5.8% from the week before.
Spot rates on the Asia – Europe trade started rising again the week after the Suez Canal incident when the megamax EVER GIVEN blocked all traffic for a week.
This delayed ships on the Asia – Europe services by one or two weeks, leading to congestion in some major ports and slowing down the repositioning of empty boxes.
The Suez blockade has also impacted the Asia – US East Coast trade where spot freight rates increased by a hefty 12.9% to USD 6,419 per feu, another record level.
Spot rates between Shanghai and Los Angeles or Long Beach only increased by only 1.1%, but nevertheless exceeded the USD 5,000 barrier for the first time, reaching USD 5,023 per feu.
Of note, the SCFI rates are only an average. Shippers paying such rate levels have no guarantee to get empty equipment released or their booking guaranteed.
In reality, many cargo owners are paying thousands of dollars extra to obtain such guarantees.