Free freight on Asia-Europe trade
Desperate shipping lines are offering nil freight rates for containers moving from Asia to Europe just to maintain market share.
From a high of USD 1,400 plus CAF/BAF per TEU just six months ago, shipping lines are reportedly asking for just bunker and currency adjustment factors and port charges, with no charge being made for vessel contribution.
Some carriers have been offering all-in rates (freight, CAF and BAF) of around US$350 to US$400 per TEU. In extreme cases, inclusive rates from North China to Europe as low as US$200 have been reported.
Industry sources estimate container trade in December was down by more than 20% on December 2007 levels, and there has been none of the usual recovery ahead of Chinese new year.