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Novel Coronavirus sees ex-China rates plummet

The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) declined 7.2% from two weeks earlier to 910.58 points at the end of the week of 3 February, the Shanghai Shipping Exchange (SSE) announced recently. Transport demand has only been recovering slowly since Lunar New Year, as novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia is keeping workers from returning to work at many factories.

On the trade route to Europe, the average load factor of freighters departing from Shanghai decreased to some 85%. The spot freight rate for containers from Shanghai, which exclude terminal handling charges (THC), plunged 12.3% from the week of 20 January to US$850 per TEU. The rate for shipments destined to the Mediterranean also suffered a double-digit contraction, going gown 12.6% to US$1,031 per TEU.

The supply-demand balance worsened on the route to North America as well. The cost for containers bound for the east coast fell 6.2% to US$2,768 per FEU, and for the west coast, 7.9% to US$1,423 per FEU.

As for other trades, the freight rates for containers to the Middle East Gulf, Australia and New Zealand, and South America all decreased, going down 3.3% to US$1,089 per TEU, 5.3% to US$892 per TEU and 6% to US$1,848 per TEU, respectively.

Transport demand shrank mildly on the route to Japan. Shipments to Kansai were moved at a rate of US$215 per TEU, down 4%, and to Kanto, US$230 per TEU, down 2.5%.

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