Freight Market Update: August 9, 2023

Trends to Watch

  • [Regional – Canada] A majority of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada membership ratified the latest deal, signaling an end to the ongoing labor disputes of the past few months. Any remaining backlog is expected to be clear of the ports in the coming weeks. Please reach out to your account team if you have questions about your shipments.
  • [Ocean – TPEB] Tropical Storm Khanun is expected to make landfall in southern Korea tomorrow, August 10. The storm is expected to impact both air and ocean operations in the region, with the port of Busan expected to see impacts beginning the night of the 9th and lasting at least through the 11th.
  • [Ocean – All] Driven by the strength of U.S. consumer spending trends and ongoing reductions in capacity, carriers have announced another round of GRIs across all lanes to begin August 15.
  • [Ocean – FEWB] Demand on this lane remains soft but is picking up, vessel utilization is improving, index pricing has stabilized, and more blank sailings have been announced.
  • [Trucking – U.S./Can] Cross-border market conditions remain soft, with rates continuing to drop. Shippers should anticipate reasonable rates and strong service on all freight to continue at least through the near term.

North America Vessel Dwell Times

This Week In News
In the Freight Business, It Feels Like a Recession [AUDIO]

With falling rates and rising costs, the U.S. trucking industry is feeling some pains after three years of increasing demand, decreasing driver pools, and other pandemic-induced effects. “When you had that surge in prices, people responded to it and thought, ‘How can we supply more?’” said Flexport Chief Economist Phil Levy. “And that wrong-footed a lot of people in the business, because they had prepared for a continuing boom,” Levy said.

What’s Working For — and Against — Retailers Heading Into the Holidays?

In an industry that relies heavily on historical data trends to forecast upcoming cycles, this year’s upcoming holiday season presents a new set of conflicting scenarios. Working in its favor are the facts that inflation is down, consumer sentiment is up, a UPS strike was averted, and consumers are itching to get back to ‘normal.’ On the flip side we see that those same consumers are hungry for bargains, the end of student loan deferrals is looming, and political/social unrest still threatens some decisions retailers make on where to focus their efforts.

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