Freight Market Update March 2024

logistics market update march

Monthly Highlights

Bridge Collapse Sends Exporters, Retailers Moving to Contain Business Fallout 

A bridge collapse near Baltimore disrupted trade, shut down a busy port, and forced the rerouting of shipments, impacting various industries and transportation routes.


How China Avoids US Tariffs

Chinese exporters utilize Mexico’s logistical advantages and U.S. tariff exemptions for sub-$800 imports to bypass tariffs, potentially fostering long-term economic benefits for the region.


Panama Canal: Booking Slots Open Up At a Waterway On the Mend

The Panama Canal’s Miraflores Locks are beautiful, but drought has limited booking slots and draft limits, affecting shippers’ decisions. Water-saving programs have increased transportation capacity, but not pre-drought levels.


Key Takeaways

  • Powerless container vessel hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, causing its collapse. According to Xeneta, a million import cartons reach the Port of Baltimore annually, which might disrupt the supply chain.
  • Heathrow Airport passport control workers decided to strike. None have been scheduled, but April 8 walkouts could impede airport travel. European airport workers struck in Frankfurt and Hamburg last month.
  • Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun will quit at year’s end over safety and quality difficulties. The board and management are reforming to soothe carriers and passengers and restore the airline.

Ocean Freight Market Update

  • The IMF expects the global economy to increase by 3.1% in 2024 despite the Red Sea crisis danger.
  • US inventory-to-sales ratio is falling as wholesalers reduce stockpiles. While retailers stock up.
  • Before the Lunar New Year, transpacific fares to the US West Coast were much higher than last year.

Global Schedule Reliability

Schedule reliability continues its upward trend.


  • Maersk has revealed plans to resume its Transpacific to US TP20 service. The weekly service will connect China to the US East and Gulf ports, with a launch date of April 21.

North America

  • The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed after a powerless container vessel hit it. Xeneta said a million import cartons reach the Port of Baltimore each year, which could significantly damage the supply chain.
  • Container vessel diversions to avoid Red Sea attacks can boost fuel costs by $300K USD each trip for Asia-Europe carriers. Current re-routings can add 15 days to trip time.

Air Freight Updates

  • After two months of double-digit demand growth and an increase in general freight spot rates, the global air cargo industry continued its surprising bullish start to 2024 in February.
  • After January’s 11% volume gain, February’s +11% YoY demand growth impressed airlines and freight forwarders.
  • After worldwide container transport volumes fell 4.0% in 2022 and climbed 0.2% in 2023, Accenture Cargo predicted them to grow 3.8% in 2024.


  • All Nippon Airways (ANA) has delayed their takeover of Nippon Cargo Airlines again. October 2023 saw the agreement pending, but July 2024 is scheduled to finalize it. Authorities are reviewing the transaction.
  • Cathay Pacific wants to reduce carbon emissions by 12% from 2019 to 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050. The strategy involves adding approximately 70 new and more efficient passenger and freighter aircraft to the carrier’s fleet.

North America

  • After many safety concerns in recent months, United Airlines may be unable to establish new routes. The FAA has banned United’s ability to certify pilots on new aircraft models and is exploring broader limitations that would limit its growth.
  • Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun announced he will resign at the end of the year due to safety and quality control issues. The board and management are restructuring to get the airline back on track and calm carriers and passengers.

Freight Market and Amazon News

Amazon Air Axes Smaller-Volume Routes While Boosting US Hub Flows

Amazon revamps the air network, reducing flights while increasing capacity with larger aircraft, focusing on core market hubs, amid shifts to ground transport and rising costs.


Amazon’s Latest Brand Protection Report: How They bust Counterfeit Products

Amazon’s 2023 Brand Protection Report outlines efforts, including innovative technology and global collaboration, to combat counterfeits and ensure customer trust.


Refund Fraud Schemes Promoted on TikTok, Telegram costing Amazon & Other Retailers Billions of Dollars

Fraud ring uncovered at Chattanooga Amazon warehouse, involving employee scamming refunds in a widespread scheme, leading to lawsuits and significant financial losses for retailers.


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