Container shipping freight rates on the Asia-Europe trade have plunged by 78% this year up until the week ended 15 April, following two consecutive weeks of decrease, according to the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI).

The continuing global economic weakness is still weighing on the lines with China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) falling into a RMB2.94bn ($448.5m) loss in 2015.

Freight rates for the global container shipping market is forecast to improve slightly in 2016 compared to last year, thanks to demand and supply potentially growing at approximately the same pace, according to Bimco.

Spot container freight rates on the main East – West trades have hit their lowest levels in five years according to Drewry’s World Container Index (WCI).

Chemical tanker freight rates are anticipated to stay under pressure throughout 2016 against the backdrop of low bunker prices and increased newbuilding deliveries, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.

The year 2015 was a tough one for the global container shipping market, as freight rates fell sharply in the second half of the year and the overcapacity failed to show signs of improvement. A recent forecast by China’s research house Shanghai International Shipping Institute (SISI), however, pointed to a potentially better year in 2016.

The dry bulk freight market continued to crumble on Monday led by capesizes.

China has fined eight container lines a total of RMB1.1m ($168,610) over their failure to comply with standards of filing of freight rates, the country’s ministry of transport announced before the close of 2015.

VLCC earnings plunged 20-30% the week before last, thanks to a lack of activity in the Arabian Gulf, with a further 13% drop last week on major routes despite more activity in the Gulf.

The idle containership fleet continues to grow in size as lines fight crumbling rates.

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