Up and down under
Spot freight rates are rising fast in a falling Asia-Oceania trade.
Not since the early part of this decade had the Asia-Oceania southbound container trade registered a quarter where volumes had declined on a year-on-year basis. Then recently, along comes four in a row. The rot started in the last three months of 2018 when headhaul traffic just dipped into the red. This was followed by a 6.6% decline in the first quarter of this year, with a further 4.2% drop between April and June. Returns for 3Q19 were even worse with a deficit of 6.8%.
By the end of October, data from Container Trade Statistics (CTS) shows that year-to-date volumes from North East Asia had fallen by 5.3% and those from Southeast Asia by 6.2%. At the receiving end, Australian imports – covering 84% of the trade – decreased by 7.0%, while flows into New Zealand actually recorded an increase of 2.9%.