Rate Signs

April 18, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shippers have had to pay higher freight rates after loss-making shipping lines succeeded in pushing through rate hikes but say rates might fall after the end of a cargo rush. “They have increased rates in March and April,” Gehan Kuruppu, president, Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council told LBO.

Rates were hiked by 200 US dollars for a 20-foot container and by 400 dollars for a 40-footer in April alone.

“In the first week of April there was a bit of a cargo rush for exporters,” Kuruppu said. “Some used even high rates and loaded their cargo.”

At the time loadings were high from the Far East coupled with a rush in Colombo by shippers trying to send goods ahead of traditional new year holidays.

The early April container freight rate hikes on the westbound Asia-Europe corridor came just one month after the previous large rate hikes.

Loss-making shipping lines have announced further rate hikes to restore profitability after a glut of new ships caused overcapacity which forced rates down.

But Kuruppu said there were indications the lines might not succeed in making the rate hikes stick.

“The space factor plus high pre-new year