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Freight Market Update: March 28, 2024

Port of Baltimore

Ocean freight market update

China-North America

  • Rate changes: Ocean freight rates between China and North America have demonstrated contracting trends this week. Rates to the US West Coast have seen a decrease of approximately 12%, while the East Coast rates have also fallen, but at a slower pace of around 10%. These adjustments continue to reflect the dynamic market conditions, responding to shifts in demand and operational capacities. Looking ahead, the rate trends might experience fluctuations as market conditions evolve, influenced by geopolitical events and economic policies.
  • Market changes: The recent incident involving the Maersk/MSC 2M alliance vessel, the Dali, and its impact on the Port of Baltimore, underscores the vulnerability of maritime infrastructure to unexpected events. With the port handling significant volumes, particularly in roll-on/roll-off cargo, the redirection of shipments to alternative ports may introduce temporary logistical challenges and potential congestion, albeit with minimal long-term disruption expected during the current slow season.


  • Rate changes: In the China to Europe corridor, rate dynamics have further stabilized following a period of volatility, with a minor increase noted in Asia-Mediterranean lanes, underscoring a cautious market recalibration. Carriers are navigating through a landscape of fluctuating demand and supply, hinting at a strategic positioning for potential rate adjustments in the coming months.
  • Market changes: The Asia-Europe trade lane continues to adapt to the changing market forces, with carriers revising freight all kinds (FAK) rates in a bid to manage revenue erosion amidst an accelerating decline in rates. The adjustments reflect a strategic response to maintain viability and service consistency in face of softening demand and an oversupply of capacity, particularly highlighted by the introduction of new ultra-large container vessels.

Air freight/Express market update

China-US and Europe

  • Rate changes: The air freight market from China to both the US and Europe mirrors the complexities observed in ocean freight, with a general downtrend in rates – a decrease of around 5% to North America and a more pronounced drop of 10% to Northern Europe. The adjustments are indicative of shifting cargo flows and capacity alignments, with carriers strategically managing space against a backdrop of fluctuating demand patterns.
  • Market changes: Disruptions continue to shape the air freight landscape, with ongoing challenges such as overcapacity and the recalibration of network schedules exerting downward pressure on rates. The market is navigating through a period of adjustment, balancing capacity with evolving demand scenarios influenced by e-commerce growth and global trade tensions. The air freight sector remains poised for a rebound, with strategic shifts likely as carriers and shippers adapt to the new market realities.

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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