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Freight Market Update: December 8, 2023

red and blue cargo containers on brown wooden dock

Ocean freight market update

China-North America

  • Rate changes: Rates on key routes like Shanghai to Los Angeles have shown fluctuations, with a slight decline in the recent period. This trend indicates a dynamic pricing environment in the transpacific trade lane, influenced by factors such as demand shifts and operational adjustments by carriers.
  • Market changes: There’s a growing emphasis on rerouting strategies in response to Panama Canal restrictions, as highlighted by Freightos. The rerouting of Asia–East Coast services through the Suez Canal, coupled with geopolitical tensions affecting vessel movement, is reshaping the container shipping dynamics on this route. Additionally, carriers are introducing new surcharges and operational strategies to navigate the current market environment.


  • Rate changes: Freightos data reveals that Asia-N. Europe and Asia-Mediterranean rates are experiencing contrasting trends. The Asia-N. Europe route saw a 3% increase in rates, while the Asia-Mediterranean route witnessed a more significant 12% rise. These developments suggest a nuanced market response to varying regional demands and carrier capacity management.
  • Market changes: Overcapacity remains a pressing concern in the Asia-Europe lane, with Bimco’s outlook predicting continued pressure on freight and charter rates due to the anticipated fleet growth outpacing demand. Carriers are likely to employ capacity management strategies, including General Rate Increases and blank sailings, to mitigate these challenges.

Air freight/Express market update

China-US and Europe

  • Rate changes: The air freight market is showing a mixed picture, with stable rates from China to North America and a 5% decrease to North Europe, reflecting the changing demand patterns in these corridors.
  • Market changes: The current market dynamics appear to favor small and medium-sized forwarders, who are gaining traction due to their adaptability and specialization in niche markets. However, as The Loadstar notes, these forwarders must continue evolving, particularly in digitalization and sustainability practices, to maintain their competitive edge. On another positive note, the volume increase driven by e-commerce shipments out of Asia is expected by market observers to continue through early next year.  

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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