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Freight Market Update: January 12, 2024

container cargo ship and cargo plane with working crane

Ocean freight market update

China-North America

  • Rate changes: The ocean freight rates between China and North America have experienced a notable shift. In the China to US west coast lanes, there’s been a significant increase in rates since mid December, with further surges anticipated as more shippers divert volumes to this lane to avoid delays to the east coast. The east coast lanes have seen adjustments but at a slower pace. This trend reflects the market conditions influenced by factors such as geopolitical tensions and continued supply chain disruptions. Looking forward, the market may see continued fluctuations due to these ongoing challenges.
  • Market changes: The market dynamics in this lane have been influenced by several factors, most notably the Red Sea crisis and its impact on global shipping routes. The need for diversions is creating additional pressure on existing routes and resources, leading to a complex market situation. The Chinese New Year period might also contribute to temporary shifts in demand and capacity, affecting the market balance.


  • Rate changes: In the China to Europe trade lanes, the freight rates have shown some signs of stabilization after significant increases in the past period. This stabilization can be attributed to a balance being sought between supply and demand in the region, despite the challenges posed by global economic conditions. However, in the short term, prices are likely to continue climbing with GRIs and more surcharges come into play.
  • Market changes: The market in this lane has been impacted by factors such as new vessel deployments and carrier strategies. The introduction of ultra-large container vessels is a significant development, influencing both rate levels and capacity dynamics. The European market’s response to these changes will be critical in shaping future trends, particularly considering the current global economic climate.

Air freight/Express market update

China-US and Europe

  • Rate changes: The air freight market between China and both the US and Europe has seen contrasting trends. While some routes have experienced decreases in rates, others have shown an upward trajectory. These changes align with the shifting demand scenarios in these regions. Predictions suggest continued variability in rates due to factors like the Red Sea situation and changing shipping patterns.
  • Market changes: The air cargo market is currently navigating through a phase of cautious optimism, marked by a complex interplay of factors like the Red Sea crisis and its ripple effects on global supply chains. The industry is also witnessing a gradual shift towards more stable and predictable market conditions, albeit with a keen eye on the evolving geopolitical and economic landscapes. This cautious approach is likely to shape the market’s trajectory in the coming period.

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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