Although the Chinese New Year occurred later in 2018 compared to the previous year, the increase was not as dissimilar to what was reported by the market in 2017, as shipping companies rushed to meet shipments before the closure of factories in China. Between December 1, 2016 and January 28, 2017, shipping companies were able to increase fares on the same trade route by 12.1%.
The difficulties of sustaining the hike
Although shipping companies have historically been able to increase fares in the run-up to the Chinese New Year, they are very rarely maintained after the date. In fact, in 2017 they were unable to maintain tariffs once New Year's celebrations came to an end. Between 28 January 2017 and 28 February 2017, fares decreased from US$2,018/FEU to US$1,731/FEU, a fall of 14.2%.
In 2016, a similar trend was also reported. Between 8 February 2016 and 16 March 2016, fares fell from US$887/FEU to US$553/FEU, a decrease of 39.9%. However, falls in post-Chinese New Year tariffs in 2016 reflected a more unstable tariff environment, a landscape that has since begun to stabilize.