Dutch container shipping to and from the Netherlands cost nearly 4 percent less in the fourth quarter of 2008 than in the previous quarter. The main reasons for this were decreasing demand, excess capacity and lower fuel prices.
Dutch scheduled sea container shipping services
Dollar curbs price fall
The economic downturn pushed down demand for container transport by sea in the fourth quarter of 2008; moreover there was more than enough capacity as not only vessel numbers increased, but the capacity per vessel also rose. Added to this, as fuel prices decreased prices of container transport under Dutch colours fell by around 4 percent. Prices for shipping containers from the Netherlands in particular were down, by nearly 6 percent.
The price decrease was curbed by the rise of the dollar against the euro. In the fourth quarter of 2008 the dollar cost on average 14.3 percent more than in the third quarter. Seagoing shipping is an international market where transactions are usually paid for in dollars.
Sea shipping services also include so-called time charters, where a company charters a ship including its crew. Because of the rise of the dollar, prices for time charters did go up. Time charter contracts are long-term contracts, as ships are chartered for longer periods.
Dollar-euro exchange rate and time charter prices
German ships also reduce prices
Prices for German container transport by sea fell by relatively more than Dutch prices in the fourth quarter of 2008. The prices for the transport of containers from Germany fell by 11 percent and the price of shipping a container to Germany fell by 10.5 percent. Price developments in the Netherlands and Germany are reasonably simultaneous.
Prices of Dutch and German scheduled sea container transport
Higher prices on average in 2008 for sea going shipping
In spite of the decrease in the fourth quarter, prices in sea-going shipping were 1.9 percent higher overall in 2008 than in 2007. Prices of scheduled services rose by most because of higher fuel prices. Charter prices fell last year; fuel prices do not effect these prices.