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Asia-Europe volumes surge as rates plunge: Container Trades Statistics.

Latest Container Trades Statistics (CTS) figures reveal that Asia-Europe box volumes posted a 8.5 per cent year-on-year surge to 1.1 million TEU in October, but freight rates have fallen as low as US$1,000 per TEU on the Asia-North Europe route.

Last week, the Shanghai-northern Europe component of the index slipped by $13 to reach $987 per TEU. Shanghai-Mediterranean rates fell $32 from last week to $1,076 per TEU.

London's Drewry Maritime Research also noted that the overall performance of the trade lane masked divergent performances on services from Asia to the three sub-regions of Europe - North Europe, East Med/Black Sea as well as West Med (North Africa, Spain, Portugal).

The high-volume Asia-North Europe cargo flow increased 8.2 per cent year on year in October to 739,277 TEU. Year to date, volumes were up 2.1 per cent to 7.6 million TEU. This followed a 1.6 per cent year-on-year volume increase in the first 10 months of 2011.

Asia-Med/Black Sea October volumes increased 10.7 per cent to 202,419 TEU year on year and were up 10.9 per cent in the 10-month period to 2.1 million TEU. This followed a 3.9 per cent year-on-year volume increase in the first 10 months of 2011.

Asia-West Med/North Africa volumes increased from 2012 to 2013, but fell well behind 2011 levels. This was attributed to the chaos brought on by the Arab Spring strife. Add to that, Italians and Spanish economies remained in the doldrums.

October West Med volumes were up 7.3 per cent year on year to 181,510 TEU and increased 3.9 per cent to 1.9 million TEU year to date. But volumes were 14.4 per cent less than in the same period in 2011 because of the Arab Spring chaos.