Spot rates on container ships bound for the United States from Asia have risen by a fifth since late June 2017. The benchmark West Coast-bound rate has reached approximately $1,690 per 40-foot container, a level not seen in five months and up more than 50% from the most recent low in June 2017. Rates for East Coast-bound containers have risen to approximately $2,690, up about 30% from late June 2017.
According to the Japan Maritime Center, container shipment volumes from Asia to the United States rose 4.7% on the year, for the January-June 2017 half; reaching a record high. This can be attributed to healthy consumer spending.
Although Japanese freight consignors often sign yearly fixed-rate agreements in the Spring of each year, Chinese consignors mainly use the spot market, and some have begun to pay premium rates to secure space.