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Freight Market Update: April 30, 2023

A ship with cargo containers together with two trucks

Ocean freight market update 

China–North America

  • Rate changes: Container spot rates saw a sudden spike in the last two weeks (albeit still lower than the same time last year) as tracked by multiple indexes, with carriers implementing General Rate Increases on the transpacific lines. Shipments to the east coast have also seen rate increases, although at a much lower pace compared to the west coast. Another wave of GRIs are expected to hit shippers on May 1 but recent upticks are arguably transitory.
  • Market changes: Ocean carriers seem persistent in keeping a lid on capacity and continue to blank sail. More cancelled sailings have been announced for May by Maersk and MSC, among others. Demand is recovering according to data for the port of Los Angeles. The combination of short-term rate spikes and tightening capacity will likely prompt more BCOs to negotiate new annual contracts effective from May.


  • Rate changes: Rates on China to Europe lines hovered around the previous weeks’ level, but spot rates are expected to rise in the next few weeks. 
  • Market changes: Some carriers are holding off on quoting for May shipments due to anticipated General Rate Increases. While there is a slowdown in exports from China, its container depots are reportedly working at 90% utilization. 

Air freight/Express market update

Global Carrier Rate

  • Rate changes: Both air freight rates for Asia to North America and Asia to Europe are being held steady, still posing a significant decline versus those in last April. They are expected to stay around the same level in the coming 2 weeks. 

Asia–North America

  • Market changes: In the 4 weeks to April 23, transport time from cargo consolidation to final delivery on the Trans Pacific East Bound lane increased slightly (by about a half day). Carriers are not committing their capacities at the current low point of the market.    


  • Market changes: Timeliness on the Far East West Bound lane barely changed in the last few weeks. The market seems to be picking up and less volatility is encountered from major gateways. 

Disclaimer: All information and views in this post are provided for reference purposes only and do not constitute any investment or purchase advice. The information quoted in this report is from public market documents and may be subject to change. Alibaba.com makes no warranties or guarantees for the accuracy or integrity of the information above.

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