ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands – Almost all shipping agencies have simultaneously announced to increase their rates for container freight up to close to 100% compared to their current prices. Not surprisingly, it is raising questions on illegal price fixing.
In the past weeks major shipping agencies like Maersk and Hapag-Loyd announced big price increases, up to about 100%. Others followed suit. Together these shipping companies control over 60% of the container freight market between Asia and Europe.
In a report in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, the association for logistics and transport companies – EVO – sounds the alarm. According to EVO all signs are there that indicate illegal price fixing. In particular because the current price increases are in complete contrast to the current price battle for container freight rates.
That battle made prices for shipment of a 20-foot container from Shanghai to Rotterdam drop from US$ 1,500 to US$ 800. The current price hikes is bring the rates back to the level they had about 18 months ago.
As the increased rates are also in contrast to the declining economies in Europe and the US which is reflected in a lower shipping demand, the EVO association is raising these issues in Brussels.