Shipping freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe fell by 23 per cent to US$332 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended on Friday, one source with access to data from the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index told Reuters.
The current level is widely seen as a loss-making for container shipping companies that transport everything from flat-screen TVs to sportswear from Asia to Northern Europe.
In the week to Friday, container freight rates dropped 24.2 per cent from Asia to ports in the Mediterranean, fell 19.0 per cent to ports on the US West Coast and were down 11.4 per cent to ports on the US East Coast.
Copenhagen-based Maersk Line, the global market leader with a market share around 15 per cent and part of Danish shipping and oil group AP Moller-Maersk, reported earlier in February a loss of US$182 million for the fourth quarter. It was the first time since the first quarter of 2012 it reported a negative quarterly result.
The Danish shipping company controls around one fifth of all transported containers from Asia to Europe.