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Container freight market roundup: Supply chain players braced for futher price hike

London — Container supply chain players were braced for another head-haul price hike on January 15 potentially between $300-$500 for the North Asia to North American and North Continent routes.

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For most carriers, cargo utilisation and trade demand is strong as Chinese New Year approaches.

Any carriers offering below these proposed increases could stall the upward price momentum in the spot and annual contract box prices by a week.

This looks set to occur on the North Asia to West Coast North America route because certain carriers are not as full cargowise as their competitors and may have chosen to extend their validity instead of the previous issued price increase for January 15.

This week most of S&P Global Platts' routes remained unchanged except North Asia to West Coast North America which dropped $50 to $1,400/FEU this week.

This could fall further if the lower range of $1,300/FEU becomes representative after the weekend. This has occurred and today?s price is $1,300/FEU.

The North Asia to East Coast North America maintained its box rates at $2,400/FEU this week and looks set to increase to $2,800/FEU on January 15 if the carriers do not shift their pricing position.

The increase proved to be less severe and seems to be at $2,600/FEU today.

Across the Atlantic Ocean the head-haul routes from North Asia into North Continent and UK have both been stable and the proposed rise in prices to $1,800/FEU on January 15 seem likely to be accepted as cargo allocations are high and this week there were no falls in box rate prices, closing at $1,500/FEU January 12 for both routes.

The North Asia to Mediterranean also had a quiet week and may increase by $200 January 15 after being assessed at $1,200/FEU, January 12. The back-haul routes have not moved this week.

Please follow S&P Global Platts' new container price assessment and look out for Platts' Apple iOS app as part of our shipping service.

--Andrew Scorer,