Shipping Costs

Feb 08, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shippers said they anticipate further hikes in freight rates as cargo flows improve after the recession with loss-making shipping lines trying to regain profitability and fewer ships calling Colombo. In the short-term, the latest spike in rates and pressure on ship capacity might ease after next week’s Chinese new year ahead of which a surge in cargo volumes pushed rates up.

But shippers said that in the longer-term they expect the rate hikes that began towards the end of 2009 to continue as trade volumes recover with the end of recession and shipping lines struggle to stem losses.

Randolph Perera, former chairman of Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council, said rates had risen by about 100-200 dollars for a 20-foot container in the Far East sector and even more to Europe since the start of this year.

It’s mainly because of the increase in volumes before the Chinese new year,” he said. A lot of cargo is moving to Europe. It might ease after the new year.

In coming months, however, if we’re coming out of recession and Far East cargo volumes are increasing, shippers might have to pay higher freight rates,” Perera told LBO.

The reduced number of ships calling Colombo p