The TPEB market remains very strong. Carriers implemented another rate increase on Sept 1, bringing US west coast rates to a new record high and pushing east coast rates to levels rarely seen over the last decade. Vessels are still booking very early, and equipment is becoming more problematic in certain China ports (north China as well as some outports in the vicinity of Yantian).
Vessels sailing prior to China’s Golden Week holiday (October 1-7) are nearly full. Shippers hoping to get cargo out before the holiday factory closures absolutely must book without delay. Despite additional capacity available through the many extra loaders deployed by carriers, space will run out soon. Scarcity of equipment in China, especially 40HC containers, will compound the issue. Carriers are anticipating at least a brief slowdown during and immediately after the Golden Week closures. 2M has announced a round of blank sailings intended to match capacity to demand and keep rates stable. We expect the other alliances to follow suit.
Carriers are prioritizing cargo that pays premium rates, even higher than spot levels in many cases. Shippers who have firm sailing requirements and cannot accept any rollovers are paying $2000+ per container over spring contract rate levels. This exceptional situation is expected to continue as long as carriers exhibit pricing discipline and do not engage in price wars to capture market share in the final months of the year. Please be aware of the unique circumstances and likelihood of significantly higher shipping costs out of Asia.
Overall ocean capacity and demand are still up year-over-year compared to 2019. Consumers are
spending more on goods instead of services due to pandemic-related restrictions and concerns. We’re seeing surging volumes across many different verticals – GDSM, sporting and exercise equipment, home office equipment, tech products, PPE, and general medical equipment.
Air cargo out of Asia is increasing and will continue to climb over the next several weeks due to large
volumes, especially for the tech sector. However, space and service are still severely limited. Major tech brands such as Apple and Samsung will be booking available space at a premium. Capacity open to the rest of the market will be sold at much higher levels than in previous years.
CVI continues to closely monitor and manage freight space across our portfolio of contracts. However, with the spot rates so far outside the long-term rate levels, carriers are significantly restricting contract space. Most carriers are offering a fraction of the usual allocation for long-term fixed rates – some as low as 20-30%. There is simply no guarantee that fixed-rate contract volumes will be accepted or load while carriers can obtain much higher margins accepting volume at short-term rate levels.
In this market, it is imperative that all transpacific eastbound shippers place bookings at least one
month prior to cargo ready date. For all business, contract/long term and floating/short term, advance booking is required. We urge you to proactively communicate any specific space needs to your dedicated CVI customer service or sales representative.
Reduced sailings are causing major space issues on Transatlantic trades, in both directions. Scarce
equipment across Europe is still an issue, and limited passenger air services are still keeping the air cargo market very tight.
In the US, trucking demand and costs have surged, especially for west coast routings. US west coast
ports have seen the bulk of the volume increase over the last few months, as many retailers eager to
replenish inventory as quickly as possible are utilizing west coast routings for cargo destined for the
Midwest and East Coast. Chassis availability is problematic, particularly at LAX/LGB. There is a still a good deal of PPE moving around the country as well, utilizing road capacity and putting additional
pressure on rates.
Blank sailings on transpacific and transatlantic ocean trades are keeping export space very tight. We’re seeing overbooked vessels on nearly every lane. Similarly, reduced services in the global air freight market are helping maintain higher air rates. Early booking is crucial on exports as well as import lanes.
Early booking and forecasting are critical so we can plan appropriately for allocation and scheduling
requirements. Again, we urge you to proactively communicate any specific space needs to your
dedicated CVI customer service or sales representative.
We would also like to remind you of our new SOUTHBOUND SELECT LCL service from Bremen to Charlotte! Please see the below for more details on this market-changing product!
We’re watching developments in the industry that will have longer-term impacts as well. The FMC is reviewing carrier blank sailing practices and dramatic rate increases seen over the summer. The NCBFAA has also requested that the Commission review carrier named account vs. FAK practices, as well as other tactics deployed to ensure higher rates than negotiated for long-term contracts.
Maersk announced plans to integrate the Damco and Safmarine brands under the main Maersk Line container division, another step toward consolidation of the company’s services. The integration of Damco’s LCL and air freight services under the Maersk brand is particularly significant as it expands Maersk’s presence into alternate transport modes. Many countries across the globe have loosened pandemic-fueled restrictions, while others are implementing a second round of countermeasures. We expect to be dealing with disruptions linked to the pandemic for some time. Broader economic impacts have not been fully realized in most of the US and our major trading partners. Carriers are watching bookings, load factors, and forecasts very closely, and they will align their capacity with the market on short notice. We will continue to monitor the situation across all fronts. Please keep CVI advised of your shipping needs as early as possible.
US Customs Compliance
Please see the latest Client Alert posted by our Director of Compliance & Customs Services, Sam
McClure: New Section 301 Exclusion Extension List
Your CVI team is here to assist you through these current market challenges. Ocean freight, air
freight, domestic road/rail, and Customs Compliance – count on our dedicated professionals to care
for you and your supply chain. Call us and let us show you what we can do!
Director, Pricing & Procurement, CVI