Freight rates in the Far East/Europe trade have been falling for the past 6 months or so and are currently 40-50% lower than November 2010. Carriers have tried to increase freight rates in 2011, but the hikes have failed to stick. This is bad news for shipping lines as they enter peak season, traditionally the time of year when demand for shipping space is high resulting in firmer freight rates. The causes are weaker than expected demand linked with new, bigger vessels entering service.

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