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Freight Market Update: April 8, 2024

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Ocean freight market update

China-North America

  • Rate changes: In the latest developments, ocean freight rates from China to North America present a nuanced picture. The rates to the US West Coast have seen a slight reduction of 3%, reflecting ongoing adjustments in the supply chain. Conversely, rates to the US East Coast have stabilized, suggesting a differentiated response to market dynamics. The disparity in rate movements underscores the complex interplay between supply chain factors and market sentiment, with an eye towards potential shifts driven by the evolving landscape of Chinese exports to the US.
  • Market changes: Recent events, notably the Baltimore bridge incident, have prompted significant rerouting of cargo to alternative ports along the East Coast. This development has introduced logistical complexities, underscored by heightened congestion and increased operational costs. The swift adaptation by carriers to these unforeseen circumstances speaks volumes about the resilience of the ocean freight industry. Despite the immediate repercussions for trades linked to Baltimore, the broader market demonstrates a robustness, maintaining stable ocean rates amid these dynamic adjustments.


  • Rate changes: The ocean freight market between China and Europe is marked by subtle yet telling shifts. Rates to North Europe have experienced a modest increase of 2%, while the Asia-Mediterranean corridor has seen a more substantial rise of 17%. These changes reflect the fluid nature of the trade lane, driven by strategic rate management by carriers and fluctuating market demand. The anticipation of additional General Rate Increases (GRIs) is palpable, as carriers aim to uphold rate integrity in a fiercely competitive environment.
  • Market changes: The European trade lane faces ongoing hurdles, not least due to the ramifications of the Red Sea geopolitical tensions on vessel operations. The entry of new ultra-large container ships into the market, coupled with steady demand within Europe, presents a delicate equilibrium for carriers. Efforts to navigate this landscape are evident in the targeted application of GRIs and the strategy of blank sailings, as part of a broader effort to calibrate supply with cautious market demand.

Air freight/Express market update

China-US and Europe

  • Rate changes: The air freight segment from China to North America and Europe reveals significant rate realignments. A notable 25% decrease in rates to North America indicates an adjustment to align with current market demand, while the rates to North Europe have seen a more moderate reduction of 6%. These changes are emblematic of the air freight market’s responsiveness to the dynamic interplay of capacity and demand across key trade lanes.
  • Market changes: The recent seismic activity in Taiwan, China has necessitated a temporary pivot in semiconductor manufacturing, directly impacting air freight volumes and rates from the region. This event underscores the fragility of global supply chains to natural phenomena and the rapid market responses such disruptions elicit. Concurrently, the air freight sector grapples with the challenge of surplus capacity, with carriers strategically recalibrating operations in anticipation of a market upturn. The sector’s agility in facing these disruptions, with an emphasis on capacity-demand equilibrium, highlights its ongoing resilience.

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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