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Intra-Asian container rates hit by fierce competition

Intense competition has hit freight rates in the intra-Asian container trades according to longstanding player Regional Container Lines (RCL).

Releasing its third quarter results Bangkok-headquartered RCL said that Q3 the average freight rate had fallen by 15% year-on-year and by 7% compared to the previous quarter.

“Despite the difficult trade environment, intra-Asia trade demonstrates the most promising potential growth, drawing in many newcomers to gain market share. Hence, resulting in a strong competition in this quarter, depressing the freight immensely,” RCL said.

As a result RCL saw its Q3 revenues dip by 8% to THB4.14bn even though volumes were up 9% at 562,00 teu.

The regional line also expects to see costs increase as IMO 2020 comes into force. “In addition to the depressing trade atmosphere, a geopolitical tension in the Middle East and the enforcement of sulphur emission cap starting from the beginning of 2020 has posted a noticeable indication of a higher cost to the shipping lines,” the company said.