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Freight rates decreasing for Indian shippers, but new price hikes are looming

Average container freight rates for trades out of India have significantly tapered off this month compared to the levels maintained by major carriers in May. On the westbound India-Europe trade, rates West India [Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT)/Nhava Sheva or Mundra Port] to Felixstowe/London Gateway (UK) now stand at around US$6,009/20-foot container and US$7,141/40-foot container, down from US$7,615 and US$8,015, respectively, in May.

For ex-West India-to-Rotterdam shipments, average pricing has dropped to about US$6,000 per 20-foot container and US$6,300 per 40-foot container, from US$7,015 and US$7,046, respectively. Eastbound rates, however, remain at the same levels as they were at the end of last month -- at US$1,923/20-foot container and US$2,046/4-foot container for cargo shipped from Felixstowe/Rotterdam to West India.

However, there are signals already that rates will go up. The Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) has announced hefty rate hikes on its India-North America network. It will start charging a general rate increase (GRI) of US$1,000 per container from 4 July, which will be followed by peak season surcharges of US$1,000 per box from 15 July and US$ 2,000 per box from 1 August.


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