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Freight Market Update: June 20, 2024

ship loaded in New York Container

Ocean freight market update

China-North America

  • Rate changes: Ocean freight rates have experienced moderate increases across major routes. China-US West Coast rates rose by around 1%, while China-US East Coast rates remained stable. These changes are influenced by early peak season demand and ongoing disruptions due to tariff concerns and labor issues at key ports.
  • Market changes: The market is under considerable strain due to capacity shortages and congestion. Current estimates suggest that a significant portion of global capacity is tied up, with key transport hubs like New York facing severe bottlenecks. This has pushed rates to high levels, with further increases anticipated. Many shippers are advancing their shipments to avoid anticipated tariff hikes in August, which is contributing to the early peak season effect.


  • Rate changes: Rates on China to Europe routes have shown moderate increases, with prices to Northern Europe up by approximately 5%, while Mediterranean rates saw a slight decrease. This trend is driven by ongoing peak season demand and port congestion in both Asia and Europe.
  • Market changes: The market remains volatile due to various disruptions. Port strikes in Germany and France, along with continued geopolitical tensions in the Red Sea, have led to significant delays and rerouting of shipments. The market is also facing challenges from the influx of new ultra-large container vessels, which are contributing to overcapacity issues. Despite these challenges, high inventory levels and inflation in Europe are stabilizing the market to some extent.

Air freight/Express market update

China-US and Europe

  • Rate changes: Air freight rates have shown mixed trends. Rates from China to North America slightly decreased by 2%, while rates to Europe surged by 26%, according to the Baltic Air Freight Index (BAI).
  • Market changes: The air cargo market continues to experience shifts driven by demand fluctuations and capacity changes. E-commerce demand remains strong  and drives rates up. However, overcapacity issues are still present, balancing out some of the rate pressures. The narrowing differential between ocean and air freight rates is making air freight more attractive, especially for time-sensitive shipments. Potential regulatory changes in the US and a cautious approach from e-commerce platforms may ease some of the pressure on rates.

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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