Silly season is in full flow at the moment with some of the shipping lines. Anybody planning to arrange some freight from Asia back to Europe either using us or anybody else should be aware of the large freight increases being imposed by the shipping lines in the form of General Rate Increases (GRI) and Emergency Rate Surcharges (ERS) along with other incidentals such as piracy surcharges and container inspection fees. The end result is that rates have gone up by approach 1000$USD (and more in some cases). Additionally we have not even start to see Peak Rate Surcharges yet (PRS).
If you are wondering why this is happening, well it is due to the huge losses some of the shipping lines have made due to the constant downward pressure of rates over the past couple of years. Bigger and bigger vessels has resulted in a glut of capacity plus the additional aggressive pricing between the lines. However such a massive hike in rates is just probably going to make people reconsider shipping now and either look elsewhere or hold off to later and wait till one of the lines to decide to rapidly cut rates to grab market share which will once again result in more losses, probably followed by another rapid rate hike.
So prepare for a roller coaster ride on shipping rates in 2012, it is going to be interesting how it all pans out by year end.