Shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk is suspending a key transpacific service “as a consequence of the forecast reduction in global demand."

The Copenhagen-based company is temporarily suspending its Asia to the US East Coast transpacific service. The service operates with a fleet of at least 11 vessels.

The Danish liner operator is making the move at a time when transpacific freight rates continue to slide.

Rates from Asia to the US East Coast dropped to $2,556 (€2,395) per 40-foot equivalent unit (feu) in the week to Feb. 13.

That means rates are more than 80 percent lower than a year ago, when they topped $18,000 (€16,867) per feu, according to the Freightos Baltic Index.

Transpacific rates remain well below 2019 levels as demand continues to decrease, according to Judah Levine, research lead of container booking portal Freightos.

Lower volumes have helped ease congestion and more vessels are arriving on time at US ports.

Shipping Terms Glossary
  • Reefer: Refrigerated container
  • teu: 20-foot equivalent unit used to measure container sizes
  • feu: 40-foot equivalent unit used to measure container sizes
  • Blank sailing: This could mean a vessel is skipping one port, or that the entire string is canceled.
  • Panamax vessel: The maximum size of a ship that can transit the Panama Canal, ranging in length between 200 and 250 meters (650 and 820 feet) wth capacities of 50,000 to 80,000 dry weight tonnage.

But falling volumes are also resulting in a further decline in ocean rates on other trades.

Freight rates from Asia to north Europe decreased to $2,735 (€2,562) per feu, more than 80 percent lower than rates for the corresponding week last year.

The one bright spot for freight prices is the transatlantic, where volumes remain resilient. Spot rates are still more than 250 percent higher than in 2019, Freightos estimates.

Tracking trends in seafood markets
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