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Freight Market Update June 7, 2024


Ocean freight market update

China-North America

  • Rate changes: Ocean freight rates have seen notable increases across major routes. Asia-US West Coast prices increased by 2%, while Asia-US East Coast rates rose by 6%. These rate hikes are driven by early peak season demand and compounded by ongoing disruptions due to Red Sea diversions.
  • Market changes: The market is experiencing significant strain due to capacity shortages and congestion. Current estimates suggest that about 7% of global capacity is tied up, with Singapore, a major transport hub, facing severe bottlenecks. This has pushed rates to early-year peak levels, with additional increases anticipated in early June. Long-term contracts are becoming less reliable, with nearly 70% of BCOs and forwarders reporting rolled containers or pushed to spot markets.


  • Rate changes: China-Europe rates have also seen upward movement, with Asia-North Europe prices up by 3%, while Asia-Mediterranean rates remained stable. Despite these increases, the market shows signs of stabilization due to high inventory levels and inflation in Europe.
  • Market changes: Flooding in southern Germany has severely impacted European barge traffic and rail freight, leading to substantial disruptions along the Rhine and Danube rivers. Additionally, a two-tier market has emerged as carriers prioritize major BCOs over forwarders, with forwarders facing increased rates and reduced allocations. The divergence in rates is significant, as forwarders pay substantially more per container compared to shippers on certain routes.

Air freight/Express market update

China-US and Europe

  • Rate changes: Air freight rates have shown mixed trends. Prices from China to North America decreased by 5%, and to Europe by 4%. The Baltic Air Freight Index (BAI) also reflects these trends with modest fluctuations in various routes, such as a notable increase for Frankfurt and a decrease for London Heathrow outbound rates.
  • Market changes: The air cargo market continues to face some overcapacity issues, despite demand from e-commerce giants like Temu and Shein driving rates and capacity tightness. Potential regulatory changes in the US and a pullback from major e-commerce platforms could ease these pressures. A bright outlook remains, with some projections indicating double-digit growth for air cargo this year despite geopolitical uncertainties. Additionally, rising ocean spot rates are pushing more shipments towards air freight, taking up some excess capacity.

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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