Asia-Europe route most affected with freight fees down 21.8pc in quarter China Cosco Holdings, which operates the country's largest container shipping line, said sales from moving cargo dropped 4.79 per cent in the first quarter following a substantial drop in freight rates. Container shipping sales fell to 7.29 billion yuan from 7.66 billion yuan a year earlier, Beijing-based China Cosco said in a statement yesterday. Cargo volume rose 10 per cent to 1.13 million teu (20-foot equivalent units). The news prompted the company's share price to drop 3.16 per cent to $3.825. During the three months, the average freight rate fell 13.5 per cent to 6,449 yuan per teu from 7,453 yuan in the same period last year. The trade link most affected was the route between Asia and Europe/Mediterranean Sea, with the average teu charge falling to 7,514.70 yuan from 9,610.90 yuan - a 21.81 per cent decrease. The volume of traffic on the link also underperformed the market with one shipping agent saying it had dropped 10 per cent in the first quarter. The most important trade link, transpacific, posted a 7.34 per cent decline in freight rates in the first quarter, from 10,914.30 yuan per teu to 10,112.50 yuan. The market rate decreased between 6 per cent and 8 per cent, a source said. Freight rates on the intra-Asia route were also down, with the company charging 14 per cent less per teu, while the market rate fell 5 per cent to 7 per cent. Cosco Container Lines, China Cosco's container shipping unit, operates 131 ships with a total capacity of 362,023 teu, according to Containerisation International. In the first quarter it took delivery of only one 9,200-teu chartered vessel. The company is scheduled to add 80,000 teu capacity this year. Route revenue from transpacific, Asia-Europe and intra-Asia totalled 2.97 billion yuan, 1.9 billion yuan and 1.39 billion yuan respectively, representing a drop of 1 per cent, 12 per cent and 3 per cent.