The Shanghai Container Freight Index fell 33.33 points to 1083.99 last Friday.
The index, which measures spot rates from Shanghai to different parts of the world, was down on major trade lands to Europe and the United States.
"Despite recent spikes upwards courtesy of the GRI (general rate increase) program, it seems this years 'peak season' may be somewhat of an anti-climax in terms of higher rates - the fundamentals just aren't there to support higher prices for long," said Clarkson, in its ClarksonBoxClever Weekly Report
Benjamin Nolan of the the brokerage firm Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. writes in Stifel Shipping Weekly
today that year-over-year container rates are down 22.4 percent and "consistently below break-even levels despite being in the seasonally strong time of the year."
Zepol Corp., meanwhile, reported U.S. imports in July were "the highest volume seen in one month since July of 2007
. The United States brought in over 1.69 million TEUs in July, which is 13 percent higher than last month’s volume and 2 percent higher than July of last year."
But Clarkson said Zepol figures also show that year-to-date imports are up just 0.1 percent to 10.44 million TEUs.
Nolan said "aggressive ordering by liners and lessors in the container shipping sector has resulting in year over year ship ordering up 180 percent and an orderbook to fleet ratio of over 18 percent with liners seeking to operate ever large vessels. Consequently, we believe a cyclical recovery is gradually being shifted further into the future."
In an article in the current issue of Container Insight Weekly
, Drewry noted "should fuel prices increase, ocean carriers will continue to soften the blow through increased economies of scale right up to the end of 2015, even though it will be achieved by taking delivery of yet more vessel capacity in excess of industry requirements.
"In this respect, it should be noted that the excess capacity is what has been causing freight rates to collapse in the first place," the London-based consultants added.
Drewry also said average ship size in the Asia-North Europe trade has grown to just under 10,500 TEUs in the secord quarter of 2013 from 9,200 TEUs a year earlier and less than 8,000 TEUs in the first quarter of 2009. - Chris Dupin