Rising fuel costs set to push up container freight rates

Shippers should expect a freight rate increase of between 13% and 20% next year if carriers are to make up for the increasing price of bunker fuel, according to analyst SeaIntel.

While the focus of bunker discussions has been on the introduction of the International Maritime Organization’s sulphur cap in 2020, SeaIntel points out that carriers have been paying increasingly steeper prices for fuel already and that increase has not been reflected in higher freight rates.

Fuel prices have increased from an average of $159 per tonne in February 2016 to $474 per tonne last month, SeaIntel said.