Trade Lanes

In-depth news and analysis of the world's major shipping trade lanes including the trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, Asia-Europe and more.

Trade lane decisions

Several variables can affect a trade lane's popularity — including its inclusion/discontinuance by an ocean carrier. The container line landscape is constantly evolving as market dynamics present new challenges to the industry. See how the companies involved have changed as a result of mergers and acquisitions since 1977.

Commentary

This is the price the industry pays for its inability to reach a level of stability where container lines can make enough money from rates to cover their operating costs, much less turn a profit

News & Analysis

Port of Los Angeles.
17 Oct 2018
It has now been 12 consecutive weeks that spot rates on imports from Asia have been higher than $2,000 to the West Coast and $3,000 to the East Coast, according to the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index. This is the longest sustained period of elevated spot rates since 2013.
Port of Santos.
16 Oct 2018
Although still in the early schedule-setting process, a likely new joint venture will leave Asia-east coast of South America shippers with fewer, larger ships and one less service, so says a shipping industry expert.
The Port of Los Angeles.
12 Oct 2018
Spot rates in the eastbound Pacific show no sign of softening, and shippers may end up paying high spot rates through the end of the year, if imports remain strong. New US tariffs beginning Jan. 1 definitely have something to do with the above.
The Port of Los Angeles.
05 Oct 2018
As uncertain as trans-Pacific rates have been, they are up 56 percent to the West Coast and 67 percent to the East Coast, compared with early Oct. 2017. However, more price volatility is anticipated as the peak season ends, importers prepare for the Chinese New Year, and proposed 25 percent Trump administration tariffs take effect on Jan. 1.
A freight train travels across China.
04 Oct 2018
China’s government has invested billions in the China-Europe rail network, and volume, propelled by subsidies, has surged. However, those subsidies have created other downsides for shippers and the broader market.
Port of Los Angeles with a CMA CGM ship.
28 Sep 2018
Further, two key decision-makers, one each from the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, agreed that the early building of peak-season inventory this summer will be followed by slower growth in the fourth quarter of the year.
Nippon Cargo Airlines.
26 Sep 2018
Further, trans-Pacific shippers will welcome the additional capacity, especially this peak season, for several reasons.
Port of Los Angeles.
21 Sep 2018
However, analysts and stakeholders say shippers should not focus on the rate drop, but rather, they should prepare for unprecedented turmoil in the eastbound Pacific that is affecting cargo loading at Asian ports and delivery and storage in the United States.
The Port of Los Angeles.
20 Sep 2018
Already chaotic and upended, the Trump administration’s proposed Jan. 1, 2019, 25 percent tariff on imports from China is causing importers to scramble for ocean, truck, and rail capacity — with the next ramification being the warehouse variable: will there be any space after the front-loading of imports?
Port of Los Angeles.
18 Sep 2018
The focus now turns to how dramatic the post-peak season decline will be, and if it will take place earlier than normal after shippers front-loaded their supply chains to avoid US tariffs.
Port of Los Angeles.
14 Sep 2018
Extra-loaders have made their presence felt, but is that extra capacity capable of ending the escalation in trans-Pacific spot rates long term?
A Hapag-Lloyd ship.
14 Sep 2018
The spot market between Asia and Europe remains stronger than at the same time last year, but the rate is beginning to follow a pattern that will likely concern ocean carriers.
Port of Los Angeles.
07 Sep 2018
Ocean carriers plan October blank sailings even as they introduce extra-loader vessels to handle an import surge in September.
Port of Los Angeles.
05 Sep 2018
The move represents modest good news for US importers scrambling for slots, amid a peak season surge in volume.
Antwerp port.
05 Sep 2018
The capacity cutback is another data point that provides pause for thought regarding the argument that a second-half demand/capacity balance would support a recent upswing in container shipping rates.
Yangshan Port, China.
05 Sep 2018
The 20-mile, three-lane dual carriageway bridge is the only road link to the Yangshan terminals, part of the huge Shanghai port that handled 20.5 million TEU in the first half of 2018.
Port of Los Angeles.
31 Aug 2018
Ocean carriers continue to have the negotiations advantage in the trans-Pacific, and there was little in the latest weekly data to suggest a change in the peak-season uptrend.
Air cargo at Los Angeles International Airport, California.
30 Aug 2018
Air cargo freight rates between China and the United States have been rising since July, according to US-based logistics provider C.H. Robinson, and shipper concern about lack of space on the trans-Pacific trade is a factor in that rise.
A ZIM container ship.
29 Aug 2018
The reduction in capacity, less than anticipated, provides a slight amount of relief to shippers scrambling to find capacity this peak season.
Port of Los Angeles.
24 Aug 2018
Uncertainty regarding the Trump administration's tariffs and when surging imports will slacken is keeping ocean carriers firmly in control of pricing in the eastbound trans-Pacific trade.
Maersk Line.
22 Aug 2018
If other carriers also offer one-off extra loaders in the coming month, the tight situation in the largest US trade lane could be relieved somewhat.
A CMA CGM container ship.
22 Aug 2018
Sailing withdrawal announcements on trades between Asia, North Europe, and the Mediterranean are beginning to flow in for the slow season, as ocean carriers implement actions to rebound from first-half losses. Left unresolved, however, is whether carriers will cut capacity like they did on the trans-Pacific during the US ocean peak season.
Odessa port, Ukraine.
21 Aug 2018
Asia-to-Southern Europe shippers now have quicker cargo transport options than the traditional Shanghai-to-St. Petersburg route, in Russia’s Novorossiysk port and Ukraine’s Chornomorsk and Odessa ports. In addition, as the latter ports expand and deploy economies of scale, their rates may drop below the traditional route as well.
Antwerp port.
21 Aug 2018
Along with trade tensions and the non-finalized new trade rules between the United States and the European Union, trade stakeholders are concerned about the condition of Turkey’s economy, a further deterioration of which would substantially hurt regional trade.
Port of Los Angeles.
17 Aug 2018
Ocean carriers are enjoying rare pricing power, which is being propelled by three factors. But the impact of their decisions on customer relationships with beneficial cargo owners and truckers remains to be seen.
Port of Los Angeles.
10 Aug 2018
Space is so tight today in the eastbound Pacific that some beneficial cargo owners are paying higher than spot rates to get their shipments on vessels leaving Asia. However, there is a qualifier to that trend shippers should know about.
An OOCL ship.
06 Aug 2018
OOCL is sounding alarms about the impact of a trade war on international shipping volumes after a strong first half.
Port of Los Angeles.
03 Aug 2018
Strong US import volume is at the heart of the rise, and there are other signs of strength, but what’s the evaluation of the early move by industry professionals?
01 Aug 2018
Amid trade tensions, surging economic growth, and surface transportation constraints, this peak season promises to be volatile and challenging for US shippers.
Port of Oakland.
30 Jul 2018
There is, perhaps, no better evidence to senior management on the necessity of proactive carrier engagement than this: transportation conditions can change quickly in container shipping, and an annual contract with an ocean carrier is no guarantee of capacity when one needs it.
Port of Los Angeles.
27 Jul 2018
The ongoing uptrend is noteworthy because, historically, the largest increases in spot rates often occur in August, usually the busiest month of the peak shipping season, and October, the last month of the holiday shipping period.
Port of New York and New Jersey container ship.
27 Jul 2018
Although trade tensions between the United States and the European Union and their impact have been muted so far in 2018, trade stakeholders know that could change dramatically and quickly.
Rotterdam port.
27 Jul 2018
However, the rising spot rate, while encouraging for ocean carriers as peak season approaches, has not — so far — refuted a perennial concern regarding rates and the second half of the year.
20 Jul 2018
Eastbound trans-Pacific spot rates are mostly holding their strength even as volume growth slows and trade tensions mount.
20 Jul 2018
Could a looming trade war shake up one of the most stable global shipping lanes?