Shipping alliance prices rise; non-allianced stay stable

Dive Brief:

  • THE Alliance, the OCEAN Alliance and the 2M+H Alliance have raised their China-U.S. West Coast prices 11% percent, American Shipper reported. Eastbound transatlantic trade between the U.S. and Europe rose 33% percent from last week.
  • Non-alliance lines kept their prices static, with a rise of merely 1%. However, prices consistently run higher among independent lines.
  • Rates were compiled via Freightos International Freight Index.

Dive Insight:

Although cleared of any wrongdoing by the Federal Maritime Commission last November, allegations of price fixing among members of various alliances grew to the point where subpoenas being served by the U.S. Justice Department in March. Those receiving the subpoenas were executives from Maersk Line, Hapag-Lloyd, Evergreen Marine and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL). 

Previously, the Wall Street Journal noted that that shippers in the Asia-Europe trade lanes have seen rates rise to $960 per container in 2017 from $695 in 2016, and suspect carriers are purposefully idling their fleets to decrease capacity utilization. Based on their calculations, however, carriers argue rates below $1,400 per TEU cannot be sustained.

While shippers remain suspicious of the alleged forced idling and collusion between lines, carriers maintain that shippers have gotten used to paying rock bottom prices that can't support the industry, and that they're better off paying higher prices than potentially causing bankruptcies.

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Filed Under: Freight
Top image credit: Biofriendly