International container rates finish in March with small but important increase in European import and export activity, along with increased Far East imports and a continuous development in US exports. Xeneta’s latest XSI® Public Indices report builds on the positive rates development recorded which effectively halted a decline underway since August 2018.
US President Donald Trump announced on March 22 that he lifted sanctions on two Chinese freight forwarders that were accused of trading illegally with North Korea. The US Treasure had imposed large scale sanctions on these companies, which would be added to the already existing sanctions. However, Mr. Trump intervened to withdraw them.
According to Drewry, China’s developing increasing demand for chemical shipping is due to strengthen coastal freight rates. The demand is being boosted by the fast growth of the Chinese base chemical production capacity. Mainly, about 55% of the new production capacity is placed in East China, 23% in North China, whereas another 22% in South China.
The Chinese Ministry of Transport informed that dry bulk and container shipping along the country’s coast are experiencing too much capacity, which may lead to reduced rates. As of now, China’s coastal shipping market is stable, but due to increasing issues with over-capacity, it is possible that this stability will change.
As data from the National Bureau of Statistics highlight, the overall freight volume transferred to China experienced an increase of 7.1% year-on-year to 51.5 million tonnes in 2018. According to the Bureau’s data, China’s freight throughput at some of its most crucial ports reached the 13.3 billion tonnes in 2018, experiencing an increase of 2.7%, in comparison to 2017.
Swedish Ports of Stockholm finished 2018 with a record reaching with stable freight volumes and a record number of cruise passengers. According to the Ports’ 2018 summary, a new revenue record of SEK 866 million (USD 94.9 million) was reached, meaning SEK 10 million more than the record set in 2017.
Freight rates for dry-bulk and container ships, carriers of most of the world’s raw materials and finished products, have experienced a decrease during the last six months, reflecting the that the global economy is slowing significantly. The measured transport costs for materials like iron ore and coal, have reduced by 47% since mid-2018, affected by the US-China trade dispute, according to Reuters.
Freight derivative volumes in the tanker market rose by 20% in 2018 hitting 321,962 lots, volumes in the dry market rose 1.4% to 1,196,929 lots, its strongest performance since 2008, while dry options volumes rose by 44% to 268,976 lots, finding similar levels to 2016, according to Baltic Exchange.
Ocean freight rates for cargoes moving under contracts on major East-West routes decreased by 7% in the fourth quarter of 2018, which is mostly driven by moderate fall in the Asia-Europe rates, according to Drewry. The latest reduction in average East-West contract rates is the largest quarterly fall since the end of 2016.
Drewry presented a positive outlook on the dry bulk market, as it expects charter rates to improve, driven by moderate increases in vessel demand and low growth in vessel supply. This is caused by restrained new ordering and a thin orderbook, according to Drewry’s latest edition of the Dry Bulk Forecaster.
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