COPENHAGEN, July 14 (Reuters) – Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company, told its clients on Tuesday it would raise the freight rate from Far East Asia to Europe by $1,000 per 20-foot container (TEU) as of Aug 1.
The company declined to say what the current rate was or what the new rate would be as numbers vary from port to port but the average rate from Asia to Europe as cited by the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index was $699 per TEU last week.
The announced increase does not necessarily mean it will go ahead. Due to chronic overcapacity, actual freight rates hit multi-year lows last month at $205 per TEU on the Asia-Europe routes, the busiest in the world, according to the index.
Large shipping companies such as Maersk, a unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk, are sometimes forced to accept far lower rates because of there are simply too many vessels available to ship goods.
Rates on the route have remained on average just below $700 per TEU so far this year, far lower than the $1,170 on average last year and below the $800-$1,000 that is generally deemed to be the level at which shipping companies make a profit.
Maersk Line was one of the few container shipping companies to make a profit last year. Top container shipping companies tend to be family- or state-owned.
(Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki, editing by David Evans)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015.