Freight Market Update February 2024

freight market update february 2024

Monthly Highlights

Water Level Projections Threaten Future Panama Canal Transits

Low water levels in the Panama Canal are affecting vessel throughput, especially for chemical tankers and liquefied petroleum gas carriers, causing delays and potential issues.


Lunar New Year On Leading Air Cargo Rates’ Lift Off

Major US airlines experienced cargo revenue declines in 2023 due to decreased rates and volumes amid ongoing challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic.


End of Red Sea Crisis Will Create Choppy Water for Carriers

A potential resolution of the Red Sea crisis may lead to a short-term decline in container shipping rates, affecting industry capacity and impacting Maersk’s performance in Q2.


Key Takeaways

  • The Red Sea scenario is causing disruptions in Suez Canal trade, as carriers shift ships to avoid potential threats and delays. The crisis has increased demand for air cargo and air-sea solutions, as shippers look for ways to convey their products without delays or uncertainty.
  • As firms close for the Lunar New Year, shipping demand and rates from China and other APAC industrial hubs are increasing.
  • Strikes are predicted across Europe in 2024, a year when regional, national, and European elections will be held. Expect further protests, as well as traffic and logistics problems, leading up to the election.

Ocean Freight Market Update

  • The Red Sea Crisis continues to influence freight industry dynamics. Rates remain high.
  • Demand has been strong, and as the Lunar New Year approaches, ocean carriers are lowering freight costs due to a downturn in Asian demand.
  • Vessels and containers will have longer passage durations as a result of the rerouting through the Cape of Good Hope.

Global Schedule Reliability

Schedule reliability continues its upward trend.


  • New vessel added to Wan Hai Lines fleet. The new vessel, WAN HAI A13, can carry 13,100 TEUs at 22 knots and has various ecological technologies to save energy and fuel.

North America

  • The December 2023 Descartes Datamyne report showed a 0.4% increase in US box imports from the previous month, unaffected by the Panama Canal drought or Red Sea attacks.
  • A February Federal Maritime Commission hearing will assess the potential impact of Red Sea hostilities on supply chains and commercial shipping. The agency expects shippers and carriers to argue since companies swiftly implemented emergency fees in response to the issue.

Air Freight Updates

  • In early 2024, air cargo volumes are soaring much faster than before.
  • In the second week of January 2024, global air cargo tonnages rose 24%, bucking the end-of-year slump.
  • Tonnages from Asia Pacific and Middle East & South Asia increased to Europe without raising average costs, demonstrating a complex relationship between demand, capacity, and pricing in the global air cargo market.


  • Cathay Pacific plans to hire 5,000 people in 2024 to expand and rebuild. Cathay will use pilots, cabin personnel, and ground support to resume pre-covid operations. 
  • Dimerco Express and Yusen Logistics joined Cathay Pacific’s Corporate Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) program. The corporations will increase SAF utilization and promote renewable energy in aviation.

North America

  • FAA to ground 737 MAX 9s for inspection data review after Alaska Air incident. The Alaska Air incident prompted them to commit more supervision and safety measures to address quality control concerns.
  • A San Francisco International Airport main runway is closed for up to five months for taxiway safety improvements. The FAA and airport will work together to minimize delays and disruptions, but the airport has cautioned that one-third of flights may experience minor delays, especially during peak demand hours.
  • Better cargo handling at Vancouver Airport will cost $54.9 million. Modifications will boost airport freight capacity by 160,000 tons, parking, and efficiency.

Freight Market and Amazon News

Amazon Bedrock Adds Mistral AI Models, Giving Customers More Choice

Amazon Bedrock will expand its range of foundation models with Mistral AI’s cutting-edge models, offering customers greater flexibility for generative AI applications, including text summarization, structuration, question answering, and code completion.


Amazon Fresh Launches “Recurring Reservations” for Online Shopping

Amazon introduces Recurring Reservations feature nationwide, allowing customers to schedule their preferred pickup or delivery times each week for a more convenient shopping experience.


Amazon’s AWS to Invest Over $5 Billion to Boost Cloud Computing in Mexico

Amazon Web Services Mexico (AWS) plans to invest over $5 billion to establish a cluster of data centers in Queretaro, Mexico, over the next 15 years, responding to the increasing demand for cloud services.


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.