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Freight Market Update: December 22, 2023

air freight

Ocean freight market update

China-North America

  • Rate changes: Ocean freight rates between China and North America, particularly on the West Coast lanes, have shown a moderate decrease, indicating an easing of pricing pressure. This trend suggests a relative reduction in the cost of shipping, compared to previous weeks. The change in rates reflects a shift in demand and supply dynamics within the freight market. Factors contributing to this trend include alterations in shipping routes due to global events, adjustments in carrier strategies, and variations in trade volumes. Future trends suggest a continued fluctuation in rates in the coming weeks, though not to the extremes seen in previous years.
  • Market changes: The market has experienced significant shifts, partly due to recent disruptions in key global shipping routes, such as the Suez Canal. These disruptions have led to a re-routing of some vessels, impacting delivery times and operational costs. Carriers are adapting by implementing longer transit routes, which is expected to cause a ripple effect in supply chain efficiency and costs. Additionally, carriers are adjusting their strategies to align with these new challenges, hinting at a potential increase in rates and transit times in the near future.


  • Rate changes: The China-Europe ocean freight market has remained relatively stable, with a slight uptick in rates. This stability is a result of balanced demand and supply, with carriers managing capacity effectively. The market is witnessing a gradual increase in rates, reflecting cautious optimism among carriers about the market’s direction. The near-term forecast suggests a steady, if not slightly upward, trend in rates.
  • Market changes: Beyond geopolitical disruptions, the China-Europe ocean freight market is adapting to shifts in European consumer demand and economic pressures, impacting cargo volumes and types. This shift, coupled with the European Union’s focus on sustainability and environmental regulations, is influencing carriers to explore greener shipping options, affecting route selections, transit times, and costs. Additionally, the increasing adoption of digital tools in freight logistics is enhancing operational efficiency and transparency, signaling a transformative phase in service offerings and customer experience in this trade lane.

Air freight/Express market update

China-US and Europe

  • Rate changes: Air freight rates between China and both the US and Europe have shown a mixed trend. Rates in North America have remained stable, reflecting a balance in supply and demand. In contrast, rates in Europe have seen a notable increase, driven by a shift in shipping preferences and capacity constraints. The air freight market is responding dynamically to these changes, with a potential for rates to continue evolving in response to market conditions and external factors.
  • Market changes: The air freight market is adjusting to a range of factors, including the impact of global events on shipping routes and operational costs. Notably, the shift in ocean freight dynamics is influencing air freight, with some shippers opting for air transport due to delays in ocean transit. This trend is contributing to the increased demand and rates for air freight to Europe. Additionally, the market is bracing for the upcoming festive and peak seasons, which are expected to influence demand and capacity in the coming weeks.

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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