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Containers weekly round up: Contract negotiations in the spotlight

November has turned out to be a tug of war contest for the global front haul routes as the annual contract negotiations take the spotlight. The carriers are attempting to keep rates higher than this time last year, whereas the BCOs are pulling rates lower to a more realistic level, when taking into account this extra vessel capacity entering the market.

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North Asia to UK and North Continent route fell $100 to $1,200/FEU this week. North Asia to Mediterranean route also decreased $100 to $1,000/FEU compared to last Friday.

The transpacific front-haul route dropped $200 this week to $1,300/FEU whilst the North Asia to East Coast North America only dropped $150 to $1,850/FEU this week as majority of cargo allocations percentages were in the 90s.

Some carriers and forwarders believe next week rates still could see rate increases for these front-haul routes. However this increase might be based on sentiment not market fundamentals and the majority of the market do not believe it will happen. This was demonstrated by the validity periods being extended from November 14 to November 30 this week.

The back-haul routes have all remained unchanged this week apart from the East Coast North America to UK Continent route which increased by $25 to $525/FEU this week. One carrier source said "they saw some quotes as high as $650/FEU", this was for a specific requirement and not representative, the majority of quotes were between $500-550/FEU.

The UK Continent to East Coast North America fell $50 to $1,200/FEU this week. The S&P Global Platts Container Index fell $45.89 to $931.33 compared to last Friday.

--Andrew Scorer,