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Asia-Europe rate rises 3.6pc to US$774/TEU, falls 7.3pc to USWC, 10 December 2018

SPOT rates for shipping containers from Asia to northern Europe in the week ending Friday increased 3.6 per cent to US$774 per TEU, according to the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI). Asia-Mediterranean trade edged up 0.6 per cent to $788 per TEU, London's Loadstar reported. Asia to US west coast delined 7.3 per cent to $2,030 per FEU while those to the east coast fell 7.8 per cent to $3,136 per FEU.

CMA CGM FAK rate increases from Asia to the Middle East Gulf, 10 December 2018

FRENCH shipping giant CMA CGM has announced a general rate increase from December 15 from all Asian ports to the Middle East on all cargo of US$200 per TEU. Called a "rate restoration", the increase will be applied on top of rates valid up to December 14. Corresponding FAK rates level will be settled as follows: As from December 15, the CMA CGM FAK Tariff Guide Lines, excluding terminal handling charges, will be $900 per TEU and $1,500 per FEU from all China and South Korea base ports to Jebel Ali.

New MSC bunker recovery charges start from US from January 1, 10 December 2018

THE Mediterraean Shipping Co (MSC) has announced new bunker recovery charges of US$245 per TEU from US east coast to the Middle East and $335 per TEU from the US west coast to the Middle East from January, replacing all surcharges that remain in force until then. All-in rates will remain unchanged from December to January as the ocean freights will be adjusted accordingly to reflect the new breakdown. Note that December BUC/FAD values will be extended for January as well while we are working to update the various contracts with BRC. Thus the new bunker surcharge from the US east coast to North Africa will be $275 per TEU, and from the US west coast to North Africa $370 per TEU. From the US east coast to West Africa it will be $395 per TEU, and from the US west coast to North Africa $490 per TEU. From the US east coast to East Africa it will be $510 per TEU, and from the US west coast to East Africa $615 per TEU. From the US east coast to South Africa it will be $850 per TEU, and from the US west coast to South Africa $850 per TEU.

US imports set new monthly record as shippers rush to beat tariffs, 10 December 2018

US IMPORTS through its major ports have set another record this year, reaching two million containers in October for the first time as retailers continued to bring merchandise into the country ahead of a now-postponed tariff increase on goods from China, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker. US ports covered by Global Port Tracker report, commissioned by the National Retail Federation, handled 2.04 million TEU in October, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available - up nine per cent from September and 13.6 per cent year on year. The October number was the highest for a single month since Global Port Tracker began counting cargo in 2000, topping the previous record of 1.9 million TEU set in July, which in turn had beat a record of 1.83 million TEU set in August 2017. November was estimated at 2.01 million TEU, a 14 per cent year-over-year increase that would have been a new record if not for the October number. December - normally a slow month with holiday merchandise already on the shelves - is forecast at 1.83 million TEU, up 6.1 per cent year on year. Those numbers would bring 2018 to a total of 21.8 million TEU, an increase of 6.5 per cent over last year's record 20.5 million TEU. Both year-on-year growth and total volume are expected to slow in January, when 10 per cent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products that took effect in September had been scheduled to increase to 25 per cent. US President Donald Trump announced last weekend after a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping that the increase - and a threat to impose tariffs on all Chinese products - would be put on hold while the two countries conduct 90 days of negotiations. Official action to delay the tariff increase has yet to be announced, however.January 2019 is forecast at 1.72 million TEU, down 2.1 per cent from January 2018; February at 1.67 million TEU, down one per cent year on year; March at 1.57 million TEU, up 1.7 per cent, and April at 1.7 million TEU, up 3.7 per cent. "We see a significant slowdown in import growth in 2019 as the market adjusts to higher prices due to the Trump tariffs and the impact on consumer and industry confidence going forward," Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. "We project that imports at our monitored ports will have grown significantly in 2018 but that there will be no import growth in the first half of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018." Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the US ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma, New York/New Jersey, Port of Virginia, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Jacksonville and Houston.

Heavy rains prompt Panama Canal to increase draft to 14.33 metres, 10 December 2018

THE Panama Canal has announced an increase in the maximum allowable draft, after recent rainfall brought the Gatun and Alajuela Lakes to their operating limits. Effective immediately and until further notice, the maximum allowable draft for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks will be increased to 14.33 metres (47 feet) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW). With the expected arrival of the dry season in the next few weeks, the Panama Canal will continue to monitor and manage the water levels of the Gatun and Alajuela Lakes, said the press release.