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Freight Market Update: April 12, 2024

birds’ eye view of the port

Ocean freight market update

China-North America

  • Rate changes: Ocean freight rates from China to the US experienced a notable decrease, with rates to the West Coast falling by approximately 9% and to the East Coast by nearly 19%. This downward trend contrasts with a slight increase of about 2% in rates to Northern Europe, showcasing the volatile nature of freight rates influenced by varying demand and supply dynamics across different trade lanes.
  • Market changes: The ocean freight market continues to adjust to global challenges, including the aftermath of the Baltimore bridge collapse, which, contrary to expectations, did not lead to an increase in rates. Instead, a slight decrease in rates was observed, emphasizing the resilience and adaptability of the freight market to disruptions. Carriers are responding to the evolving market conditions by adjusting their strategies, including introducing new FAK (freight all kinds) rates to stabilize the China-US rate slide.


  • Rate changes: For the China-Europe lanes, a stabilization in rates was observed after previous fluctuations. Carriers, aiming to counteract the trend of declining rates, have unveiled new FAK rate hikes. This strategic move is part of their effort to maintain rate levels amidst varying demand and operational costs, including those influenced by factors like the Red Sea disruptions.
  • Market changes: The market dynamics in the China-Europe trade lane are characterized by an ongoing effort to navigate through the challenges posed by geopolitical tensions and environmental factors. Carriers are actively adjusting their operational strategies to mitigate the impact of these disruptions, striving to maintain a balance between supply and demand.

Air freight/Express market update

China-US and Europe

  • Rate changes: The air freight market observed a mix of rate adjustments, with China-North America prices witnessing a decrease of around 13%, while rates to Northern Europe saw a modest increase of about 2%. These changes reflect the continuous shift in demand and capacity availability in the air freight sector, influenced by factors such as e-commerce growth and geopolitical tensions.
  • Market changes: The air freight market remains resilient amidst challenges, with demand growth observed for three consecutive months, driven by robust e-commerce volumes and the need to circumvent disruptions in ocean freight services. This demand surge has led to an increase in the global dynamic load factor, indicating a strong utilization of available air cargo capacity. The market’s adaptability is further underscored by forwarders and airlines leveraging the spot market to navigate through short-term uncertainties and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

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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