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Massive spreads on long term contract rates from the Far East to the US

The first TPM since 2019 is well underway in Long Beach, US, and though the location and many of the faces may be the same, the negotiated rates and the conversations around them are most definitely not. As the theme of this year’s TPM: ‘Relationships Matter’ suggests, carriers, shippers and freight forwarders need to work closely together to find the best solution.

This might not be an easy feat given the record-high amounts that the shippers have been paying for record low service in the past two years.

TPM22: Relationships Matter
The one thing that is clear going into TPM is that long term contract rates will dramatically increase in 2022 from deals done last year and any time before that. Still, in today’s market, the success criteria for negotiations have a much broader scope than price.

Ensuring you have secured the capacity you need and carrier commitments in place will, for most shippers, be more valuable than being the one to have secured the lowest rates.

When it does come to securing rates, the high-low range between shippers has increased as dramatically as the actual long-term rates have. Some American shippers have been given no alternative other than to pay the highest contract rates to avoid being fully exposed to all the risks of the spot market. In contrast, others have agreed to more complex agreements, either multi-year or wider logistics deals, in return for discounted rates.


On the Far East to US West Coast trade lane, long term rates of contracts signed in the three months up to the start of TPM average USD 6 548 per FEU, a 125% increase from the virtual TPM held in 2021 and up 350% from the last in-person TPM held in 2019.

The American shippers who are used to paying the lowest rates thanks to their large volumes are today seeing freight rates higher than what the smallest shippers were paying in 2019. The lowest rates coming in this year are just under USD 3 000 per FEU, more than the highest rates in early 2019 of USD 2 100 and three times as high as the USD 900 the biggest shippers were paying three years ago.

On the US East Coast, long-term rates have increased by 300% from TPM 2019, slightly less than to the US West Coast, though compared to last year, there is a significant increase of 160%.

As shippers flock to the East Coast to avoid the congestion and risks associated with the West Coast, the average long-term rate signed in the past three months is USD 10 100.

Those left paying the most are looking at rates closer to USD 14 700 per FEU. All the contracts signed now for the Far East to US East Coast trade lane are higher than the highest rates signed back in 2021, but as a large and valuable shipper, there are still considerable savings to be made compared to your smaller counterparts.
Source: Xeneta , https://www.xeneta.com/blog/weekly-rate-update-week-09-2022

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