Global Economic Recovery Watch: Surging Cargo Volume on Key N. America-Asia-Europe Routes
Journal of Commerce — “Container ship charter rates are still climbing through the summer as ocean carriers compete for increasingly scarce tonnage to keep pace with surging cargo volume on key routes from Asia to North America and Europe. Charter rates for ships that can carry 3,500 20-foot containers have more than tripled since the beginning of the year and are set to climb further as unexpectedly strong cargo demand is outstripping the supply of ships for hire and newly built vessels entering the market.
The broadly based rally has driven up the Association’s ConTex index, which covers six ship sizes from 1,100 TEUs to 4,250 TEUs, to 583 from 532 at the end of June and 275 at the beginning of March. Ocean carriers’ pursuit of chartered tonnage is driven by robust cargo growth on the export trades out of Asia to Europe and North America where most ships are sailing fully loaded with boxes.
Cargo volume on the Far East-U.S. trades grew 25.7 percent during the first three months of the new trans-Pacific contract season from May to July based on preliminary customs figures. Weekly capacity deployed on Far East-U.S. trades is already back to 2008 levels and is 12 percent above 2009 levels.
Container ship prices also are surging as carriearrirs and charter ship-owners place orders for new ships and step up purchases of second hand tonnage.”