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New bookings from Asia to the US have slowed a bit since the peak before the Lunar New Year holiday, and rates have settled at slightly lower levels. However, vessels are still running relatively full due to a build-up in bookings pre-holiday. Spot rates are still on the high side, around the mid $4000s to USWC ports and mid $5000s to USEC ports.

Volumes are expected to slide from the Q1 peaks over the coming months, a typical slack season. Annual Transpacific ocean contract negotiations will pick up as we move into March, with target contract start dates of May 1. Carriers will try to keep space tight by utilizing blank sailings as needed in hopes of maintaining higher market rates through contract negotiation season and beyond.

The market has mostly adjusted to the latest global trade disruption, the rerouting of container vessels from the Suez Canal to routes via the Cape of Good Hope. Excess container vessel capacity has helped make the adjustment as smooth as possible; while the added transit absorbs capacity, there is enough overall to keep supply chains moving.

The Federal Maritime Commission released its final rule for detention and demurrage (D&D) billing last week, with a late May implementation date. The changes are positive for shippers and include a 30-day billing window for D&D, required data points rationalizing D&D invoices, and a requirement to bill BL shipper/consignee only. More information and process improvements to align with the new rule are forthcoming.

Please remember to place bookings as early as possible, or to provide reliable, updated forecasts for prebooking. Advance booking of 3-4 weeks is highly recommended, especially for fixed-rate space.


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Rachel Shames

VP, Pricing & Procurement

CV International, Inc.


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Rachel serves as Vice President, Pricing and Procurement for CVI. Her responsibilities include vendor selection, contract management and negotiation, transportation pricing, FMC compliance, and international agent network management.

Rachel began her career in international shipping with CMA-CGM America. She joined CVI in 2011, gaining experience in various departments with a focus on inside sales and marketing for the company. In 2014, Rachel assumed the role of Manager, Transportation, working on service procurement and development of client proposals. She has served in her current position since 2018.

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Rachel earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 2005. She holds a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Maritime and Supply Chain Management from Old Dominion University.

– Rachel Shames, VP, Pricing & Procurement, CVI
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