Freight Market Update: November 29, 2023

Trends To Watch

  • [U.S. Exports – Rail] Inland Rail Ramps are having less and less equipment available due to a lack of imports into the midwest. It’s recommended to book 2-3 weeks prior to the Cargo Ready Date (CRD) to ensure a smooth loading and booking experience.
  • [ISC – Ocean] November rate levels have been extended through the end of December. Although capacity is constrained due to blank sailings to the U.S. East Coast and high utilization to the U.S. West Coast, market volume remains soft. The expectation is that these rate and volume levels will carry over into Q1 which is India’s traditional peak season. In other news, Q1 supply and demand functions will likely lead to increased rates. There are no major operational issues in the Indian Subcontinent, but we are monitoring the situation in the Middle East and how that may affect shipments moving through the Suez Canal. As of now, there is no impact on ISC cargo moving west via the Suez.
  • [TPEB – Panama Canal] Continued drought conditions are causing more restrictions on vessel transits. There are 32 transits a day, down from a normal of 36, and the canal is planning to incrementally reduce that number week over week to a projected 18 per day by February 1. While container traffic has not been impacted to date, further reductions will begin to cause impacts. Carriers are assessing the possibility of adding vessels to their via Suez services or redirecting their via Panama services. Carriers are also enforcing weight restrictions of 8 tonnes on average for containers moving via the canal. Moving via Panama is still the fastest route to the U.S. East Coast. Alternative routings are via Suez services, or via the U.S. West Coast with rail.

Please reach out to your account representative for details on any impacts to your shipments.

North America Vessel Dwell Times

The Week In News

Biden Will Convene His New Supply Chain Council and Announce 30 Steps To Strengthen U.S. Logistics
President Biden hosted the first meeting of his supply chain resilience council on Monday, November 27, where he announced 30 new measures aimed at enhancing access to medicine, economic data, and other programs related to the production and transportation of goods. The initiative, led by the White House National Economic Council, seeks to address supply chain challenges that contributed to heightened inflation during the U.S. post-pandemic recovery in 2021. The actions include improving the federal government’s ability to monitor and assess risks to supply chains through the sharing of data among agencies via new tools from the Commerce Department in partnership with the Energy Department on the supply of renewable energy resources.

Record Online Shopping Fuels Another Massive Black Friday
Holiday shopping on Black Friday generated a record $9.8 billion in eCommerce sales in the U.S., up 7.5% from last year, with $5.3 billion of that total (or 79% of all shopping traffic, including browsing+buying) coming from mobile devices. More American consumers have turned to buy now, pay later tools to extend their holiday budgets, up 47% from last year for a total of $79 million––a sign of resilience in the post-Covid economy for the fintech sector. Analysts expect eCommerce sales to continue through Cyber Monday, with an estimated $12 billion in sales, a 5.4% increase over last year.

‘Stay Cautious’ Warning to Carriers After Suspected Drone Attack on Box Ship
Israel-linked ships are facing increased risks in the Red Sea as targets for Iran-linked factions amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Over the weekend, three vessels tied to Israel experienced incidents: a suspected drone attack targeted the CMA CGM Symi, a container ship owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer; a Zodiac Maritime tanker was reportedly boarded by Houthi rebels and diverted to Hodeida, and Iranian warships demanded a Japanese bulk carrier change course. The incidents highlight escalating tensions in the region and pose challenges for shipping companies operating in the area.

‘Dire’ Scenario for Shipping Lines More Likely as Spot Rates Fall Back
As the global composite of Drewry’s World Container Index (DCI) fell 6% in the past week, next year’s container annual contract rates are expected to reset much lower than this year’s, suggesting negative financial effects on liners as shipping lines’ attempts to use general rate increases (GRI) in November to improve their negotiating hand for annual contract resets have failed. If Asia-Europe annual contracts reset in the vicinity of Q4 spot rates starting in January, and if Asia-U.S. contract rates don’t improve—or fall further—when they reset in May, container lines would face steep losses in 2024, particularly as costs are up 25-30% versus pre-COVID levels.


Source from

Freight Market Update: November 22, 2023

Trends To Watch

  • [Ocean – TPWB] Rates for December are expected to increase following a heavy blank sailing program implemented by ocean carriers in November. Space is tight on some key services to the US East Coast due to blank sailings, but differentiated services and carriers are available in the market to avoid delay. US West Coast services shared with the TPEB market are seeing a high utilization rate due to a demand increase from China and South East Asia.
  • [FEWB] The market remains flat and capacity will be slightly impacted due to the vessel deployment change, and in some cases suspension, in South East Asia. We expect rates to drop slightly but liners are still planning for a General Rate Increase (GRI) in December (Quantum from $500-700 to $400-600 increment per different carriers per latest update; more to follow). Plus, one more blank sailing was announced by the Ocean Alliance in the past week while THE Alliance (THEA) announced FE5 suspension from week 46 until further notice but added Cai Mep Facilities and Far East – Europe 3 (FE3) service. In other news, CMA-CGM announced taking out Cai Mep on FAL3 from week 48 plus the Winter Program from 2M Alliance (Maersk + MSC). Market capacity will still be down by at least 20% through November, but vessel utilization has improved. If there are any further changes, carriers will announce more void plans to support the rate increment and so far no further capacity cut announced so assuming the GRI will not hold plus the holidays are approaching.
  • [MED trade] Following North Europe, MED GRI started with a $700-800 increment and the same action will be applied for December. No further void plan has been announced for MED, but utilization is not as ideal as liners expected. Freight of All Kinds (FAK) rates may drop further in the second half of November, and we expect a cargo rush prior to the December GRI being implemented in the last week of November. Same as EUR trade, December GRI may not hold.
  • [Air – TPEB and FEWB] A surge in holiday demand for consumer goods has led to a critical shortage of capacity for air freight routes from Hong Kong and Vietnam to the US and Europe. The situation has been exacerbated by a series of freighter cancellations in the past week, leading to a tightened market. As a result, spot market prices for air freight have increased dramatically, with a 30% rise in rates from Hong Kong to the US since the beginning of November. Additionally, a severe snowstorm in Anchorage, Alaska, in early November disrupted air traffic, causing delays and cancellations. This has prompted several Asian carriers to place embargoes on new bookings and cancel several flights. Compounding these difficulties, a volcanic eruption near the Kamchatka Peninsula has sent volcanic ash into the atmosphere, leading to further cancellations of eastbound and westbound flights.

Please reach out to your account representative for details on any impacts to your shipments.

North America Vessel Dwell Times

The Week In News

Forwarders Losing Out On The Ecommerce Business Driving Airfreight Demand

The airfreight industry is experiencing a surge in demand, particularly in ecommerce, as rates from China to the US increased by 14% and to Europe by 11% last week. While global airfreight volumes have seen a 4% decline on average this year, Hong Kong Airport’s ground handler, HACTL, only saw a 1.3% drop, attributed to the rise in ecommerce-driven tonnage.

US Washout On Indo-Pacific Trade Deal Opens The Door To China

The Biden administration’s plan for the Indo-Pacific, aimed at countering China, is facing challenges as talks on enforceable trade rules slow down. President Biden and leaders of 13 other countries signed an agreement to cooperate on supply chain issues and made progress on environmental and governance issues. However, concerns arise among allies about the administration’s ability to secure a trade deal due to domestic opposition.

LMI Showing Transportation Market Flip Is Coming

According to the Logistics Managers’ Index (LMI), a domestic transportation market flip is coming, suggesting the equilibrium of supply and demand may be reached soon. The LMI, a diffusion index based on surveys of over 300 supply chain professionals, with values above 50 indicating expansion, showed a recent October price reading of 44.4 (indicating contracting prices, albeit at a slower pace compared with 28 in April) and a capacity value of 56.7 (significantly lower than 71 in May). The past five years have seen transportation markets oscillate between tight and loose conditions, largely attributed to COVID.

Crippling Port Strike Could Hit 1 Month Before Presidential Election

The International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA), which represents 45K East and Gulf Coast dockworkers, warned of the possibility of a coastwide strike in October 2024––just a month before the U.S. presidential election. The strike would coincide with the expiration of the union’s current six-year agreement as it seeks a new contract from the United States Marine Alliance (USMX) that includes prohibitions against terminal automation and tightened language ensuring all work at new terminals goes to ILA members.

Freight Market Update: November 15, 2023

Trends To Watch

  • [Ocean – TPWB] Multiple carriers are pushing Trans-Pacific West Bound (TPWB) General Rate Increases (GRIs) from inland rail ramps for December.
  • [Ocean – TAWB] Both Maersk and MSC are reshuffling 2M ocean freight services so that operations to the U.S. are run by the companies themselves. This is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. In other news, ocean freight demand is still so weak that some carriers are considering stopping certain loops altogether for the winter rather than doing blank sailings.
  • [Ocean – FEWB] EUR trade: The market remains flat and capacity will be slightly impacted due to the vessel deployment change/suspension in South East Asia. We expect rates to drop slightly but liners are still planning for a General Rate increase in December ($500-700 increment per different carriers; more to follow). Plus, three more blank sailings were announced by the Operations Associate (OA) in the past week while The Alliance (THEA) announced FE5 suspension from week 46 until further notice but added Cai Mep Facilities and FE3 service. In other news, Compagnie Maritime d’Affrètement (CMA) announced taking out Cai Mep on FAL3 from week 48 plus the 2M Winter Program. Market capacity will still be down by at least 20% through November, but vessel utilization has improved. If there are any further changes, carriers will announce more void plans to support the rate increment. MED trade: Following North Europe, MED GRI started with a $700-800 increment and the same action will be applied for December. No further void plan has been announced for MED, but utilization is not as ideal as liners expected. Freight of All Kinds (FAK) rates may drop further in the second half of November, and we expect a cargo rush prior to the December GRI being implemented in the last week of November.
  • [Air – Global] IATA.) Air Cargo Industry Update fresh of the press: Growth and Challenges in Numbers. 1. Cargo Demand Growth: Global air cargo demand continued to grow year-on-year, with cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs) reaching 20.8 billion, a 1.9% increase compared to September 2022. 2. Capacity Expansion: Available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs) increased significantly by 12.1% year-on-year, reaching 47.6 billion, driven by robust growth in international belly cargo capacity. 3. Trade Challenges: Global trade declined by 3.8% in August, impacting air cargo demand. In the U.S., inflation remained stable, while global jet fuel prices surged by 43.1% since May. 4. Regional Growth: Airlines in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, and North America all registered annual growth in their international CTKs, with Asia Pacific airlines leading with a 4.2% increase. 5. Trade Lanes: Asia-related trade lanes, including Africa-Asia (12.8%) and Europe-Asia (9.6%), saw strong growth in international CTKs, while Europe-Asia showed significant improvement from the previous month. 6. Regional Performance: Asia Pacific airlines had the strongest growth in international CTKs at 4.2%, followed by the Middle East (2.5%) and Latin America (1.5%). European airlines experienced a decline in international CTKs by 1.7%. 7. Inflation Impact: The surge in global jet fuel prices led to an increase in air cargo yields for the first time since November 2022.

Please reach out to your account representative for details on any impacts to your shipments.

North America Vessel Dwell Times

The Week In News

Australian Ports Resume Some Operations After Major Cyberattack
Australia’s major port operator, DP World Australia, which manages almost 40% of the country’s goods, has resumed some operations three days after a cyberattack disrupted its systems and caused a cargo backlog. The reopening involves moving about 5,000 containers across four terminals in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Fremantle, accounting for nearly 17% of the affected load. While the company expects temporary disruptions, it is working with authorities to investigate and address the cyber incident.

Shipping Industry Trims Its Sails for Sluggish Global Trade
Container shipping companies are expected to face tough times for the next two to three years, but it shouldn’t be as bad as the long struggle after the 2009 recession. Hapag-Lloyd’s CEO, Rolf Habben Jansen, points out a few reasons: there are fewer new ships on order, older ships will be scrapped, ships have to sail slower due to pollution rules, and companies have stronger finances now. Jansen believes this downturn might last a couple of years but expects a recovery within 24-36 months, which is shorter than the tough times the industry faced before.

Los Angeles, Long Beach Ports Offering $60M to Aid in Purchase of Zero-Emission Trucks
The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach are offering $60 million in vouchers to help companies get zero-emission Class 8 drayage trucks for the San Pedro Bay ports complex. This initiative is in preparation for California’s new truck emissions rules starting January 1, which mandate zero-emission trucks for cargo hauling in the San Pedro Bay ports.

Source from

Freight Market Update: November 8, 2023

Trends To Watch

  • [Ocean] Panama Canal Updates: The Panama Canal has its driest October since 1950 with 41% less rainfall than usual. This is a direct impact of the decreased water levels at Lake Gatun, which not only feeds the canal but is also the main water source for 50% of Panama. Other updates include the Neo-Panamax draft restriction, which remains at 44 feet, vessel transits are now limited to 31 per day (down from a normal 36), and carriers continue to impose weight limits on shipments between 9 and 14 tonnes. There are still no noticeable delays to container transits of the canal, with the current wait time at 0.1 days for a 30-day average container ship. Despite these changes, Panama Canal routing remains the fastest transit from Asia to the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast. For those shipping above 14 tonnes, it’s recommended to use a via Suez service. Or, if time is critical, via U.S. or Canadian West Coast and rail. Flexport will continue to monitor the Panama Canal situation and pass on any information as it becomes available.
  • [Air – Global] October’s global air cargo tonnages were nearly on par with last year, showing a mere -1% decrease year-over-year. This represents the smallest monthly drop in 2023, suggesting stabilization rather than recovery. In contrast, we saw larger declines earlier in the year, with -10% in Q1, -6% in Q2, and -3% in Q3. During week 43 specifically, tonnages dipped by -1% from the previous week with a modest +1% increase in rates. On a bi-weekly basis, there was a +3% rise in tonnages and rates coupled with a +1% increase in capacity. Regionally, significant tonnage increases were seen from Africa to Europe and within Asia-Pacific flows, while Europe to the Middle East and South Asia and North America to Europe saw decreases. Year-over-year, global chargeable weight dropped -2% with notable rises from the Middle East and South Asia, Central and South America, and Africa. Overall capacity has risen by +15% compared to last year with a significant +31% increase from Asia Pacific. Meanwhile, worldwide average rates are -28% lower than last year but still +36% higher than pre-Covid levels.

Please reach out to your account representative for details on any impacts to your shipments.

North America Vessel Dwell Times

The Week In News

Biden Administration Investing $653M in Ports To Improve Supply Chains, Keep Costs Down
The Biden administration announced it is investing over $653 million in 41 ports across the U.S., including Long Beach, Milwaukee, and Newark, using funds from the bipartisan infrastructure law. This investment aims to enhance supply chain reliability, increase port capacity, accelerate goods movement, reduce shipping costs, and decrease pollution at ports.

The Holiday Spending Outlook Is Sluggish Across Thousands of Retailers: CNBC Supply Chain Survey
As the holiday shopping season begins, a CNBC Supply Chain Survey conducted in late October among logistics executives who manage freight manufacturing orders and transportation, finds retailers are cautious about ordering large quantities due to concerns about weak consumer spending, inflation, and economic uncertainty. Major retailers have managed their excess inventories, but smaller ones are reducing stock. As the freight market experiences a downturn in volumes, and as providers exit the market or implement reductions in force, soft pricing will remain as capacity outstrips demand.

Analysis: Supply Chains in 2024—Improved, but Still Vulnerable
In 2024, the supply chain is expected to be shaped by both positive and negative factors, building upon the improvements seen in 2023 following the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Supply chains are operating more smoothly with reduced congestion, a more balanced supply and demand, and an increased focus on contingency planning, flexibility, and visibility. However, traditional risks such as war, weather, and recession continue to linger in the year ahead.

Freight Market Update: November 1, 2023

Trends To Watch

  • [Ocean – TAWB] More and more carriers are reacting to the current market situation, calling rate levels ‘unsustainable;’ The expectation is for more blank sailings to hit the market in case demand doesn’t pick up soon. As per the latest Sea Intelligence article, the U.S. inventories are declining but mainly for wholesalers whilst retailers’ inventories are still high. Hopefully, this is a sign that the market will soon turn back with positive demand. In other news, USWC services are not being impacted by the current Panama Canal water situation but we will continue to monitor the status over the next few weeks weeks.
  • [Ocean – FEWB] EUR trade: November GRI was initially announced at $1650-1800 but levels are expected to land closer to $1200. The overall EU trade market remains flat but capacity will be slightly impacted due to the vessel deployment change/suspension in SEA; expect rates to keep dropping. Additionally, three more blank sailings were announced by OA in the past week while THEA announced FE5 suspension from week 46 until further notice (but added Cai Mep calling on FE3 service); CMA announced taking out Cai Mep on FAL3 from week 48. Plus, the 2M winter program market capacity is expected to still be down by more than 20% through November; Expect more void plans from OA & 2M if vessel utilization remains flat; MED trade: Following NEUR, MED GRI started at the $2000 level and will most likely land at $1450-1500 for the first half of November; No further void plans were announced for MED trades but current utilization is good and MED rates are expected to drop back to the $1200-1300 level.
  • [Air – Global] Global air cargo tonnages and rates have stabilized following China’s Golden Week, with week 42 indicating a +1% increase in both metrics, recovering from a -6% drop during the holiday. Despite this, no strong indications of a Q4 peak season are apparent. Regionally, there were tonnage decreases from Europe to various areas, contrasted by notable increases to and from the Asia Pacific. On a year-on-year basis, the global chargeable weight for weeks 41 and 42 was down by -1%, but overall capacity rose by +12% due to the resurgence of passenger air services. Presently, worldwide average rates are -28% from last year, though they’re up +33% from October 2019, sitting at an average of 2.38 US dollars per kilo.
  • [Trucking – LATAM] Hurricane season is in full swing; Tropical Storm Pilar has led to heavy rainfall and flooding over portions of Central America, including El Salvador and Honduras. This has impacted trucking operations across the country but no port closures have been announced as of yet.
  • [ISC – North America] Rate levels will remain consistent throughout November as demand and capacity begin to balance due to blank sailings. USEC capacity is constrained due to two blank sailings on the INDAMEX. USWC capacity is constrained due to higher-than-expected demand for TPEB services following Golden Week. General Rate Increase is expected to be implemented in December. Moreover, the ongoing government worker strike in Bangladesh due to road, rail, and sea blockage is expected to last until tomorrow, November 2.

Please reach out to your account representative for details on any impacts to your shipments.

North America Vessel Dwell Times

Freight Market Update: October 25, 2023

Trends To Watch

  • [Ocean – TPEB] Beginning in November, the Panama Canal Authority will further restrict the number of daily transits to 31 from the normal 36. This will bring with it the likelihood that container services will begin to see delays which they’ve been able to previously avoid. Expected delays would be in the 2-3 day range. Even with the delays, this timeline is still faster than shipping via Suez services for most Asia ports of loading. Heavy and time-critical cargo should consider routing via the U.S. or Canadian West Coast or utilizing rail or trucking services.
  • [Ocean – LATAM] Brazil: The water levels in the Amazon River at its critical passage points have reached an unprecedented level, making it impossible for container vessels to access the Manaus port. Due to the unpredictable river conditions, we cannot provide a concrete forecast at this moment when Manaus will be accessible again. Ocean carriers are closely monitoring the river conditions and will communicate promptly when safe operations can resume. Moreover, the Port of Navegantes has been closed since October 4th due to adverse weather conditions while ZIM announced a GRI for all cargo from East Coast South America (including Brazil) effective November 1 at a quantum of $450/ctr. As of Oct 21, some carriers have reopened with some draft restrictions. Despite these challenges, Brazil continues in its peak season. Guatemala: The ports of Puerto Barrios and Santo Tomas de Castilla have reopened after weeks of protests caused roadblocks. Conversely, the Port of Puerto Quetzal remains closed.

The Week In News

Port of Long Beach Marks Its Busiest September on Record
The Port of Long Beach moved 829.4K TEUs in September, an increase of 11.8% from the same month last year, which marks the Port’s first monthly year-over-year cargo increase in 14 months. This suggests rising consumer confidence amid the holiday season and bodes well for cargo volume to rebound through the end of this year as the Port of Los Angeles also saw an increase in volume in September, with 748.4K TEUs moved––marking a 5.4% increase from the same month last year.

Strike Shuts Down Vital St Lawrence Seaway Freight Corridor
A strike has shut down the St. Lawrence Seaway freight corridor after 361 Unifor workers walked off the job Sunday, October 22, after failing to reach an agreement on wages. The St. Lawrence Seaway serves as a vital maritime trade corridor that links Montreal with the Great Lakes. The strike is expected to impact over 100 ships along the route and primarily disrupt movement toward Canadian provinces.

Forwarders Warn of Delays as Israel Air Cargo Disruption Continues
The Israel-Hamas conflict is impacting airfreight and express shipments to and from the region, leading to potential service disruptions. Multiple airlines have suspended direct flights to Israel, and most carriers are not accepting bookings for these affected routes. This situation has left goods that are already in transit stuck until further notice.

Prince Rupert to build large export transload facility to balance cargo mix

The Port of Prince Rupert said Thursday it has begun construction of a rail-to-container transloading facility that will significantly increase the Western Canadian port’s capacity to export agricultural, forestry and resin products while achieving a better import-export mix.


The project will consist of a 108-acre greenfield development on Ridley Island and is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2026. Ray-Mont Logistics will develop and operate the facility, which will provide transloading capacity for 400,000 TEUs a year.


Ray-Mont currently operates a transloading facility on a temporary Ridley Island location.


The temporary facility will transition to the permanent Ridley Island Export Logistics Project (RIELP), which will provide significantly more transload capacity, said Brian Friesen, vice president of trade development at the Price Rupert Port Authority.


“It will be enormous in size and scale — 10 times the size of the temporary one,” Friesen told the Journal of Commerce Thursday.


The C$750 million project will help import-heavy Prince Rupert establish a more balanced import-export flow, Friesen said. The import-export ratio has varied over time. Ten years ago, imports outnumbered exports two to one. In pre-pandemic 2019, exports accounted for 25 to 30% of the port’s total container volume. This year, exports are in the low-30% range.


“So we still have a long way to go,” Friesen said.


The project will include Prince Rupert developing a road-rail utility corridor that will connect the new transload facility with Fairview Container Terminal, giving unit trains 10,000 feet in length direct access to the site from the Canadian National Railway network. The connector corridor ensures that all product movements will be within the port authority’s jurisdiction, the port said in a statement.


The total capital investment of C$750 million is being provided by the port, Ray-Mont Logistics, CN, the Canadian federal government and the government of British Columbia. Canada’s National Transportation Corridor Fund is providing C$64.8 million and the province’s Stronger BC program is providing C$25 million toward the project, according to the statement.


Prince Rupert serves Canadian, US markets


Prince Rupert, with its CN intermodal connections to eastern Canada and to the US market through Chicago, is a gateway for Asian imports. The port seeks to grow as an export gateway for Canadian and US cargo. A more robust two-way trade will generate increased container volumes and assist in the shipment of export loads and repositioning of empty containers along the CN network, Friesen said.


“The project’s large scale, unit train capabilities, access to available empty containers and proximity and integration into container terminal operations make it a unique model that promises the ability to deliver significant new service offerings to exporters that will greatly improve the quality, cost and reliability of container supply chains,” the port authority said.


Source from

Freight Market Update: October 18, 2023

Trends To Watch

  • [Ocean – FEWB] EUR trade: In the last week, the market remains flat and rates continue at the $800 level. However, the spot price is down to $700. As expected, carriers are planning another General Rate Increase (GRI) starting on November 1st in order to cover operational costs. The first round of price increases has been announced between $1700 and $1800. Due to the GRI increases, there are expected to be more void plans (canceling sailings) if cargo recovery doesn’t improve in the coming weeks; For instance, after Ocean Alliance announced 5 more void plans for November, 2M Alliance followed suit, and announced 7 sailings to be voided in November during their Winter Program. MED trade: Following North European markets, a GRI has been announced for WMED pushing back up to $2000 levels. However, they are still seeing oversupply. Ocean Alliance has announced 6 more MED void plans to support the GRI in November, and there is an expectation that 2M & THE Alliance may follow.
  • [Ocean – TAEB] As capacity is starting to decrease, carriers are planning their first-rate restorations. We have seen announcements for rates to increase as soon as November 15th, 2023. Overall the on-time performance (OTP) is getting better and back to pre-pandemic levels around 70-75% of the time.
  • [Ocean – TPEB] October capacity has decreased as expected, however it is not as big a drop as was seen during CNY earlier this year. November’s outlook, on the otherhand, is still very healthy, but that has the possibility of changing. Demand ex-China has started to come online this week, bookings over the next 1-2 weeks will determine capacity for November. PN3 was discontinued from THE Alliance services for the foreseeable future. Expect healthy blanks, but overall capacity to be comparable to Q2/Q3.
  • [Air – Global] In September, global air cargo tonnage and rates increased compared to August. According to WorldACD Market Data, global air cargo had a rise of nearly +3% in tonnages and a +5% increase in rates. However, in week 39 (September 25 to October 1), there was a slight -1% drop in tonnages and a +2% increase in regional rates, the most notable increases were observed between the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Overall cargo capacity increased by 10% compared to the same period last year. Rates are now at $2.37 per kilo, which is 31% lower than last year but 38% higher than pre-COVID rates in September 2019.
  • [US Exports] TAEB: Transatlantic Eastbound (TAEB) capacity is decreasing due to canceled sailings and capacity cuts to transatlantic services. TPWB: Capacity is available from US Coastal Base Ports to China Base Ports and South East Asia’s Port of Delivery, but subject to continued canceled sailings. Inland Rail Ramps are reporting lower Excepted Quantity (EQ) levels due to reduced imports into the Midwest. If you’re booking a US export from a Rail Ramp, it’s advisable to book at least two weeks before the Cargo Receipt Date (CRD) to ensure EQ availability.


Source from

Freight Market Update: October 11, 2023

Trends To Watch

  • [Ocean – Europe] The European Commission (EC) has decided not to extend the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) when it expires on April 25, 2024. In place since 2009, the CBER was designed to encourage competition in the shipping industry. What impact this will have on shipping to and from Europe remains unclear. (source: JOC)
  • [Ocean – Canada] Talks continue between representatives of the Port of Montreal Longshoremen’s Union and the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) as their current collective agreement expires on December 31, 2023. Longshoremen at the Port of Montreal are looking for wage increases of at least 20% over the next four years and full job security in three years, while the port operator is looking to limit how many workers get that level of security and a contract that guarantees union peace through the end of the decade.
  • [Ocean – TPEB] October capacity is down as expected with Golden Week, however it’s less of a drop than we saw during Lunar New Year (LNY). November’s outlook is good, but subject to change. Demand ex-China is just starting to come online this week, bookings over the next 1-2 weeks will determine capacity for November. Q4 outlook: Expect to see a good number of blank sailings, but with overall capacity comparable to Q2/Q3 numbers. The pre-LNY push will likely start in December. More new builds will continue coming online, carriers will most likely offset with more blanks and by moving smaller vessels to other markets.
  • [Air Freight – Global] In September, global air cargo tonnages increased by nearly 3% and rates rose by 5% compared to August, according to WorldACD Market Data. Despite this boost, September tonnages were still down 2% year on year, marking the smallest monthly YoY decrease in 2023.
  • [Ocean – FEWB] The market on the EUR trade remains flat. As expected, carriers are planning another round of GRI from Nov. 1, aiming to push up the market again to cover operation costs. Ocean Alliance announced 5 more void plans for November, in order to support the potential GRI carriers may plan more voids if cargo recovery is still not ideal from Mid-Oct. MED trade: Following NEUR, there’s also a GRI for WMED, but so far oversupply remains the case. Expect the market to drop further if the current round of voided sailings doesn’t lead to general strengthening.
  • [U.S. Exports] TAEB and TPWB are both seeing blank sailings impacting equipment levels at inland IPI locations. Please book 2+ weeks prior to CRD to ensure an optimal booking.

N. America Vessel Dwell Times

The Week In News

ILWU Dockworkers Union’s Sway at West Coast Ports Is Tested in Bankruptcy
In advance of a judgment against it for what a federal jury found to be illegal work stoppages at the Port of Portland in 2019, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has declared bankruptcy. The ILWU represents more than 22,000 workers at 29 ports along the U.S. West Coast, and as such wields a significant amount of leverage when it comes to port operations and controlling the flow of goods entering and leaving the U.S.

IATA: First Air Cargo Demand Growth in 19 Months
As part of its August air freight analysis, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released numbers showing that global cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs) were up 1.5% year-on-year. At the same time, they showed CTKs being 1.3% below their pre-pandemic level in 2019. According to an IATA representative, “Air cargo demand grew by 1.5% over the previous August. This is the first year-on-year growth in 19 months, so it is certainly welcome news. But it is off a low 2022 base and market signals are mixed.”



Source from

Rail dwells rising along West Coast amid shortage of available rail cars

A shortage of rail cars is causing rail container dwells to rise at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and in the Pacific Northwest, with operators unable to move inbound rail boxes off their marine terminals in a timely manner. While rail dwells have been slowly increasing since June, the problem worsened in September, sources say.


And a modest increase in pre-Golden Week import volumes last month contributed to the extended dwells, they said.


“We had some inventory buildup the last two to three weeks,” Alan McCorkle, CEO of Yusen Terminals in Los Angeles, told the Journal of Commerce Thursday. “(The railroads) are not positioning enough bare tables here.”


SSA Marine, which operates three terminals in Long Beach, said rail containers are dwelling longer on the docks because it doesn’t have enough rail cars to move the inbound loads to the US interior.


“There is a rail car shortage,” Ed DeNike, president of SSA Containers, told the Journal of Commerce. 


Despite the rising dwells, the congestion has not caused any disruption due to the manageable level of imports, even with the modest bump leading up to China’s Oct. 1-7 Golden Week and especially compared to the record volumes and vessel queues during the height of the pandemic.


“We’re not as busy, so there hasn’t been a big impact,” DeNike said.


Noel Hacegaba, deputy executive director and COO at the Port of Long Beach, said the current peak season volumes are likely contributing to the discrepancy between modestly increasing import volumes and weak export volumes, which is causing an equipment imbalance.


“The uptick in inbound cargo could be triggering rail equipment imbalances,” he said. “This is not across the board, but equipment balances are affecting some terminals more than others.”


Conditions expected to improve soon 


BNSF Railway said it is responding to the problem and that conditions should improve quickly.


“We experienced an increase in freight in transit in the San Pedro Bay Ports and responded quickly by increasing our international intermodal equipment fleet by 8% to meet the demand and our customers’ needs,” the railway said in a statement. “We are well-positioned to handle the business across our network with the additional assets as well as with capacity.”


Yusen is starting to see a difference this week. “It’s starting to clear up a little,” McCorkle said.


The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) has not yet released figures on September rail dwell times for Los Angeles-Long Beach. Dwells in August were 4.45 days, up from 4.14 days in July and 4 days in June. Just over 25% of the rail containers in August remained on terminal for five days or longer, up from 23% in June.


NWSA also seeing rail backups 


The shortage of rail cars is also an issue in the Pacific Northwest. “Rail car availability is currently a serious concern due to the low volume of cars heading westbound to balance the high volume going eastbound,” Hapag-Lloyd said in a Sept. 29 customer advisory about the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.


The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) said in a statement to the Journal of Commerce that the two ports have seen an increase in container volumes over the past several weeks, and that it has caused “temporary congestion for intermodal cargo at some of our terminals.” It said the railroads will be sending in extra cars to alleviate the backlog.


“Our operations team has been working closely with the Class I railroads and we’re pleased that both have responded with additional support and are sending extra equipment,” the NWSA said. “We expect the terminals to recover fully within a few weeks.”


The delays appear to be highest at Tacoma-area terminals, according to the advisory, which said Husky Terminal is seeing import dwells of just over seven days due to the railcar imbalance. The neighboring Washington United Terminal is seeing delays of three to seven days, while Seattle’s T18 terminal is experiencing one- to three-day dwells.


Union Pacific, which runs the Tacoma South Intermodal Terminal, did not respond to a request for comment.


While international import and export container volumes are down a combined 25.6% as of August on a year-to-date basis relative to 2022, a logistics manager who asked not to be identified said there had been some rush to bring in goods ahead of the Golden Week holiday. The source said her company’s roughly 250,000 square feet of transload space is at capacity as shippers elect to move goods via dry-van trailer.


“Tacoma transloads are full,” the source said. “Maybe it’s issues at the Panama Canal, maybe people need to bring in time-sensitive goods right now.”


The Pacific Northwest is about to see ocean carrier capacity drop further in the coming weeks, so shippers could be trying to get ahead of that. THE Alliance is suspending its PN3 service to Seattle-Tacoma indefinitely following the last sailing from Asia Oct. 8.

THE Alliance said the lack of demand was behind the need for the service cut. Along with THE Alliance, Ocean Alliance’s OPNW-Dahlia service is running fortnightly through October.


But the logistics manager said the service cuts set up a vicious cycle where shippers decide to use other ports due to the lack of reliable and consistent ocean service. With the service cuts and schedule irregularity, the source said shippers are having problems returning empty containers. As fewer ships are able to take out empties, the manager said truckers sometimes face two- to four-hour turn times, including time in the queue outside the gates, and vessel cutoffs for exports have occasionally been missed.


“They need to fix the gates, fix the queues and extend some hours,” the source said. “We need to bring consistency back to this gateway so it doesn’t lose more cargo to other ports.”


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