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Shipping lines have been in the red in the trans-Pacific trades for months. They may have just inched back into the black again, courtesy of the rise in spot rates over the past five weeks.
Annual trans-Pacific contract rates reset to sharply lower levels in May. Even so, multiple ocean carrier execs insisted on conference calls that they did not sign annual contracts at levels that locked in a year’s worth of losses.
The problem for carriers in recent months: A portion of their trans-Pacific volume – in some cases 50% – was booked in the spot market, at rates much lower than newly inked contracts, dragging the overall mix into loss-making territory.
Now, according to data from Xeneta, average trans-Pacific spot rates have just edged above average contract rates. If carrier execs are telling the truth about not signing loss-making contracts, and if spot rates are at or above contract levels, it implies a more sustainable market for shipping lines.
Read more in an article from American Shipper.