Freightos Baltic Container Report – Week 5, 2019


  • The highest transpacific ocean prices this year were $2,110 on 20 January (China-West Coast) and $3,312 on 27 January (China-East Coast).
  • Prices have fallen only 3% (West Coast) and 1% (East Coast) from these highs.
  • The carriers cancelled 1 February general rate increases (GRIs) because they know that demand will soon drop off.

Boost in prices

Chinese New Year gives transpacific ocean prices one last boost before the off-season sets in. Prices barely moved this week, easing just $51 and $36 for West Coast and East Coast, respectively. But how long before prices really start falling? On both lanes, the first week-on-week $100+ drop last year took just three weeks. In 2017, it took just two weeks.

Philip von Mecklenburg-Blumenthal, VP of FBX, Freightos said, “And unless the US and China agree to extend the truce deadline, even the trade tariff issue, which has bolstered prices since last June, may not stop the deterioration. That’s because there’s little time left to book a shipment that could clear US customs before 2 March.

This week’s report

Week 05 Week 04 Last year*
Global $1,582 -1% 21%
China – US West Coast $2,051 -2% 45%
China – US East Coast $3,276 -1% 20%
China – North Europe $1,704 3% 8%
North Europe – US East Coast $1,416 0% 0%
* Compared to the corresponding week in 2017

Increase in prices

  • Transpacific prices have gone up 18% (West Coast) and 19% (East Coast) since the beginning of the year.
  • With the pre-Chinese New Year (CNY) bottleneck peak over, West Coast prices eased a little this week (dropping $51 from $2,102 to $2,051 (down 2%) as did East Coast prices (at $36, a 1% drop from $3,312 to $3,276).
  • Carriers have benefited from the recent high prices, but know that demand drops off after CNY as per normal seasonality.

China to limp back to normalcy

  • Once China returns to normal after the CNY shutdown, transpacific freight prices usually drop dramatically.
  • Last year, between 25 February and 29 April, West Coast prices fell by 19%, East Coast by 21%.
  • In 2017, between 26 February and 30 April, the corresponding drops were 23% and 26%.

Prices offset by the global index

  • This week’s small decreases to transpacific pricing were largely offset on the global index by modest increases in China-North Europe pricing (a 3% rise from $1,657 to $1,704) and a smaller rise in China-Mediterranean pricing.
  • With no significant movements on any of the rest of the 12 indexes comprising the global index, the global index fell slightly, by $10 to $1,582.

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Source: The Baltic Briefing


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