Monthly highlights:

  • As a result of the high demand and effect of the Chinese New Year, air freight rates have increased around by %10. After the Chinese New Year period air market returns to a slack condition.
  • The Chinese government has recently begun to relax its strict zero-Covid policy that it has implemented for almost three years. This has led to a spike in cases, with a more than 60% increase in the number of reported COVID-19 cases in China. This in turn has resulted in challenges for factories as they face difficulties in maintaining normal production schedules due to staff shortages.
  • The pickup rates from factories have seen a significant increase, in some cases reaching ten times more than usual, due to both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese New Year.
  • In most shipping line, demand for ocean freight continues to fall or remain flat, with shipping rates following the same pattern.

Ocean Freight Update

The Chinese New Year, which typically sees an increase in demand for spring commodities and a corresponding increase in volumes and rates, is shaping up to be quite different this year. Market demand remains uncharacteristically soft, and there have been no significant increases in volume or rates for trades in and out of Asia. This means that the typical “frontloading” effect, where shippers bring forward their shipments to beat the holiday rush, is not expected to happen this year.

To slow or stop price drops, steamship lines continue to streamline their services and use blank sailings to match their capacity to demand. At the moment, the reliability of schedules around the world is 50%, but it could be better to reach the more typical range of 70% to 90%. Carriers are also continuing to remove trade capacity with blank sailings. Key trade lanes use their capacity in different ways. Asia-Europe is full (because capacity has been taken away), but the rest of the trade is still open.

Global Schedule Reliability

Schedule reliability continues its upward trend.

Asia

Several shippers are waiting to negotiate contracts until after the holidays, so shippers can expect more rate cuts after the Chinese New Year. Blank sailings are also expected to increase during the holidays, as some shippers are closed and will stay closed longer. Export space availability is improving at North Asia ports, particularly in China and Japan, especially with respect to direct export services from U.S. West Coast (USWC) ports. However, due to expected lower demand on the transpacific eastbound trade, vessel capacity may be cut by up to 50% on this trade after the Chinese New Year.

Europe

The congestion at European ports is gradually improving as the volume of shipments decreases due to a decline in consumer demand. This drop in volume is expected to result in smoother operations at ports during the first quarter of 2023. However, carriers may opt for more blank sailings on these trades if the fall in demand continues to escalate.

North America

Inflation and normalizing demand from the largest importers, such as retail, furniture, electronics, and home improvement, which account for more than half of U.S. imports, keep imports low from one year to the next.

Ports and rails in the U.S. are less crowded now, but Houston and Savannah ports, as well as Omaha and Santa Teresa rails, are still having trouble. On the USWC, congestion at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port is improving, with less than 10 vessels on average waiting outside to berth. The current congestion level is expected to remain stable.

Air Freight Update

Due to the high demand leading up to the Chinese New Year, air freight rates have experienced a 10% increase. However, after the holiday period, the air market is expected to return to a less active state. Many important factories will close for a short time in the middle of January and start making things again in early February. This may be one reason why demand is falling. Even so, rates are likely to stay the same, and there are no major capacity problems right now, other than the usual flight cancellations around Chinese New Year. Now that restrictions on passenger travel have been lifted, demand for passenger flights is expected to slowly rise over the next few months. This will lead to more passenger flights and more capacity. Additionally, restrictions on crossing the South China/Hong Kong border have been greatly reduced, and cargo is flowing smoothly.

Inland Drayage Update

Asia

The lift of COVID-19 restrictions across China has led to a rapid increase in the number of infected individuals, resulting in labor shortages and the closure of some logistics parks towards the end of December. The less-than-truckload market is expected to shut down during the Chinese New Year. However, customs clearance between Shenzhen and China is improving for both imports and exports. Congestion in the Pingxiang port from China to Southeast Asia is currently at 2-3 days, and customs will be closed during the new year’s holiday.

North America

A new agreement between about 160 rail traffic controllers in Canada and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference has been ratified. The agreement went into effect on January 1, 2023, and will expire on December 31, 2025.

Carriers in the Charleston market are facing challenges with finding open parking for their trucks. Although volumes have remained steady, congestion has moved to the areas surrounding the terminals. This could potentially lead to local capacity moving away from this market as drivers become more frustrated with the added cost and lack of space.

In Savannah, dwell times are still getting better, especially for larger Class II ships, where the average wait time has gone from seven days to four.

Partly because the port congestion surcharge went away on January 1, 2023, the amount of shipping in the Northeast has gone down. Port wait times in this region are now only expected occasionally rather than on every shipment. Even though there isn’t a lot of equipment, there may still be problems with refrigerated cargo, but standard cargo should have few problems.

Freight Market and Amazon News

  1. Amazon announces a new streamlined FBA capacity management system, and here is a1 summary of the changes.
  • Starting March 1, no more weekly changing restock limits
  • There will be a new “Capacity Monitor” that will be announced every 3rd week for the following month.
  • Estimates will be given about future capacity up to three months out.
  • Amazon Sellers will be able to request higher limits based on a “reservation fee.”
  • Limits will be based more on cubic feet usage instead of number of units
  1. Starting January 31, all U.S. merchants will have access to the “Buy with Prime” feature, which enables Prime members to shop on external websites, utilizing their stored checkout information and receiving Prime perks such as free shipping and returns. This option was initially introduced in April 2022 and was limited to select merchants by invitation only.

Please keep in mind that the information in our publications has been assembled from a number of sources and is based on the information we had at the time. This content is provided to our community and partners for informational purposes only, and we don’t expect them to rely on it or hold us accountable if they do.

Forceget Digital Freight Forwarder is a leading NVOCC licensed global logistics company that specializes in parcel, air and ocean shipping. With offices in key locations such as the USA, China, Hong Kong, Turkey, Israel and Colombia, we are well-positioned to assist you with all your logistics and brokerage needs, no matter where you are located. We take care of all the complexities of international shipping, allowing you to focus on what you do best – competing in your local market. Additionally, we pride ourselves on being the number one Amazon FBA focused freight forwarder, ensuring that your products are delivered to Amazon warehouses in a timely and cost-effective manner. With Forceget, you can have peace of mind knowing that your global logistics needs are in expert hands.

Ocean rates on Asia – US West Coast lanes dip below 2019 levels

Monthly highlights:

  • US ocean import volumes have dropped to a level 12% lower than a year ago.
  • This lowered demand and easing congestion continue to lower shipping container rates.
  • The ocean carriers will schedule more blank sailings in Q1 2023, with the majority of them taking place one to two weeks before the Lunar New Year. The goal is to reduce excess capacity while also improving schedule dependability by reducing port/terminal congestion.

Asia-US and Europe rates for this month:

  • Asia-US West Coast 40GP container prices fell 26% to around $1,500. This rate is 90% lower than the same time month year
  • Asia-US East Coast 40GP container prices decreased 19% to $3,750, and are 78% lower than rates for this month last year
  • Asia-N. Europe prices fell 2% to $3,974/FEU, and are 73% lower than rates for this week last year

North American Vessel Dwell Times:

Air Freight Market Update

Asia

  • N. China: Market demand for TPEB is increasing, and this trend is projected to continue through the Christmas vacation. Rates have also risen from the previous week. Demand and pricing for Far East Westbound (FEWB) remain constant.
  • S. China: The market is heating up, and the room is becoming scarce. Bookings should be made as soon as possible to ensure a faster uplift. In response to growing demand, both the TPEB and FEWB rate levels have increased. Some freighter capacity has been canceled due to heavy snowstorms in Alaska. The Chinese government has announced a relaxation of COVID regulations, so cross-border traffic should restart gradually.

Europe

  • As expected in the run-up to the holidays, demand from Europe into major North American airports has increased marginally.
  • Due to increased demand for shorter travel times and arrivals before the Christmas break, capacity into major hubs is tighter.
  • Staff shortages, strikes, and bad weather conditions are predicted to cause terminal congestion and delays at Amsterdam (AMS), Frankfurt (FRA), and London Heathrow (LHR).

Freight Market and Amazon News

Three major central banks (the Fed, the ECB, and the Bank of England) raised policy rates by 50 basis points this week as they rushed to catch up with strong inflation. overt coordination. So, what does this all mean? It shows that inflation is a problem on both sides of the Atlantic, even though the causes are different, and the de facto coordination should make some of the recent changes in exchange rates less severe. High rates are unavoidable, but experts anticipate that they will begin to fall by the end of 2023.

A first in Amazon UK, hundreds of workers at a facility in Coventry, England, have voted to strike over the e-commerce giant’s 50 pence an hour pay offer, the General, Municipal, Boilermakers, and Allied Trade (GMB) union said on December 16th.

Please keep in mind that the information in our publications has been assembled from a number of sources and is based on the information we had at the time. This content is provided to our community and partners for informational purposes only, and we don’t expect them to rely on it or hold us accountable if they do.

Ocean Freight Market Update

Asia to North America

  • Rates are expected to remain low for the foreseeable future.
    • The U.S.’s Transpacific East Bound (TPEB) demand is still quite flat despite the planned blank sailings through Week 42, which will be when most of TPEB capacity gets removed. Port and rail congestion at major US gateways such as Houston or Baltimore for vessel dwell 17-20 days each are seen; there’s also some issues with Los Angeles/Long Beach due to how long trains stay stuck in one place while waiting on cargo shipments coming into those cities from elsewhere along their route line(s).

What We Recommend

It is always a good idea to book at least 2 weeks before your cargo ready date (CRD). You can also consider any upcoming blank sailings if needed!

Air Freight Market Update

Asia

  • North of China
    • The Covid situation in Ningbo is causing some issues for the shipping industry, with restrictions being placed on both commercial and air operations. These measures have led to an increase of rates across all tradelines but are still at low levels overall due primarily because there has been little change when it comes down how much cargo moves between different destinations within China itself instead along its borders where most countries can reach without too much difficulty or delay while other sources explain this issue more specifically detail plague-wise mentioning that “some cities” imposed static management starting October 16th which encourages citizens stay home unless they’re sure their disease status isn’t contagious.”
  • South of China
    • The mainland Chinese market has finally returned to normal after a long holiday, but that doesn’t mean things are getting any easier. Rates levels remain soft with decreased rates in Hong Kong.
  • Taiwan
    • Despite the slack market, demand has increased slightly.
  • Korea
    • The FEWB market demand is still soft, while TPEB has picked up some momentum.
  • Americas
    • Export demand remains steady from all markets.
    • The US airports are running at a normal pace.
    • Capacity is opening up further, especially into Europe.

Freight Market News

USA

Southern California’s container ship backup has come to an end. The backlog of containers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which reached a highpoint in February, has diminished to virtually nothing. According to the latest figures from the Marine Exchange of Southern California, there are only six containers waiting to be unloaded at the Port of LA and four at the Port of Long Beach. That’s down from a peak of more than 31,000 containers in February.

China

Ningbo, a port city in the east of China, is facing supply chain disruptions as a result of zero Covid policies. Many factories and businesses have been closed since the start of the year, leading to a severe shortage of workers. The lack of available staff has caused significant delays in freight shipments and an overall decrease in production. This is leaving many sellers struggling to source products or face long delivery times. As a result, it is becoming increasingly important to pay close attention to inventory levels and plan for potential disruptions.