Of the three trades from South East Asia to North Europe, the U.S. West Coast and the U.S. East Coast, the average spot rate to the U.S. West Coast has fallen the most since the start of the year from $11,995 per FEU on January 1 to $1,840 per FEU on November 20 - a drop of 85 percent.

"After the collapse in spot market freight rates, the spread between high and low rates from South East Asia to the U.S. has collapsed. It has fallen to less than $4,500 per FEU compared to upwards of $12,000 per FEU at the start of the year," says Xeneta in its latest update.

In line with the average fall, South East Asia to U.S. West Coast is also the trade that has seen the most significant drops in the highest and lowest spot rates. "The market high has fallen by more than $10,000 per FEU since the start of the year, and the market low is down by $5,600 per FEU.

"Shippers on this trade now pay between $1,150-$5,225 per FEU. This range of just over $4,000 per FEU is less than half the range between high and low rates at the start of the year ($9,400 per FEU).

"Currently, the largest difference between market high and market low rates on these three trades out of South East Asia is to North Europe. The spread here has increased from January 1 though all shippers are now paying less than the lowest rate available at the start of the year. The market high has come down from over $16,000 per FEU to $9,250 with the market low falling from $12,450 to $1,790 per FEU."

Most shippers are closer to paying the lower rate with the average spot rate at $2,760 per FEU, a decline of 81 percent compared to January 1, the update said.

Among the three trades, shippers are still paying more today than the lowest available rate in January to the U.S. East Coast even as the average spot rate has fallen by 70 percent to $4,000 per FEU.

While shippers on the highest spot rates have seen their costs fall to $7,580 per FEU (down by more than $10,000 per FEU since January), this is still higher than the lowest rate in January ($5,600 per FEU), the update added.

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