A recent presentation by Xeneta, a company that collects contract data, showed Asia-West Coast contracts being negotiated this year at around 30%-50% higher levels than last year.
Numbers are around double Xeneta’s. “We are seeing fixed-price increases of slightly over 100% on Asia-West Coast and about 75% on Asia-East Coast,” he said. “Also, almost every single contract rate is subject to peak season surges [PSSs], so the prices aren’t exactly fixed. I think the PSSs will reduce the gap between the spot and fixed market.”
Asked about shippers who have yet to conclude their annual contracts, he said, “If you want a fixed price in today’s market, the answer you’ll get from the carriers is that it’s too late. We advised many importers to sign early because the trans-Pacific contract season would close [early] because there’s more demand than supply. And that’s exactly what happened.”
There are exceptions, such as larger shippers with June-to-June contracts who began discussions with carriers earlier this year. “But if you are just a simple importer and you are yet to sign your fixed contract, you will be in the spot market,”