COPENHAGEN, May 8 (FAM) – Ocean freight capacity shortages on the Europe to Asia trade suffered by forwarders and shippers in March and April have finally begun to ease after two months of supply chain disruption. However, forwarders say continuing unusually high prices for the backhaul trade are pricing out low-value cargo, and shipper representatives claim that peak-season surcharges imposed by lines have been unfair.

A combination of higher-than-expected demand and a lack of vessels due to liner alliance restructuring and blank sailings saw eastbound freight rates from Northern Europe to Asia accelerate from the start of March, with shippers reporting a lack of slots throughout March and April. Spot rates on the trade even surpassed those for the headhaul voyage from China to Europe at times last month.