Average international container shipping rates have hit a 17 month low, according to research group Drewry.
Its Global Freight Rate Index declined for the fourth consecutive month dropping nine per cent in May to reach $1,882 per 40ft.
The index gives a weighted average across all main trades excluding Intra-Asia.
Drewry said the bulk of the damage came from east-west routes and particularly westbound rates on the Asia Europe trade lane, but weak load factors led rates to weaken on other major trade routes as well.
“Carriers’ failure to take the necessary corrective action to match capacity to weak demand through wider use of slow steaming or laying up ships is costing them dearly. But a new concerted effort to lift rates is likely to lift pricing,” it said.