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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

Given bunker price volatility and spotty surcharge collection, it makes little economic sense for ocean carriers to sign contracts without separate, floating bunker surcharges. On the other hand, shippers don’t want to pay for increases not allowed under all-in rate or no-adjustment contracts. One solution may be a standardized, transparent, bunker surcharge formula.

News & Analysis

17 Jul 2018
A new service from APL will test the hypothesis that shippers will pay more for better service, if it is available.
Port of Los Angeles.
13 Jul 2018
Eastbound Pacific spot rates rose for the second straight week as Cosco and Ocean Alliance partners became the third carrier alliance to announce peak season cuts in services.
The Port of Los Angeles.
11 Jul 2018
This much is known about rates for US importers from Asia heading into peak season: there are factors that would generate firm-to-higher rates, but also historical factors that would lead to a softening of rates.
Port of Long Beach.
09 Jul 2018
US importers plan to bring in record container volume this peak season, which will translate into an impressive 2018 year-end gain compared with 2017.
Port of Hamburg.
09 Jul 2018
However, far from being an omen of declining demand, headhaul rates from Europe to the United States have strengthened as peak season gets under way.
Port of Los Angeles.
06 Jul 2018
Beneficial cargo owners can anticipate higher rates this peak season as Yang Ming and its THE Alliance partners announce removal of a trans-Pacific string. This development follows a similar service reduction in late June by the 2M Alliance and was accompanied Friday by an increase of 20 to 30 percent in spot rates.
Port of Oakland.
27 Jun 2018
Shippers have long pushed back against index-linked contracts, due to low rates from chronic overcapacity, but the methodology at the core of Xeneta’s new index might satisfy shippers — as well as solve several business operation problems.
An MSC ship.
22 Jun 2018
Several factors, including mega-ships deployed, North Asia congestion, rising bunker fuel prices, and the impact of Trump administration tariffs, are compromising schedule integrity in the trans-Pacific.
An SM Line ship.
13 Jun 2018
SM Line said growing volume in the second half of the year should return rates to a level that covers operation costs.
An APL ship.
13 Jun 2018
Known as Eagle GO Guaranteed, APL is extending the service to Asia-Europe and Asia-Mediterranean trades, following a successful implementation of the shipping option on the trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic, and Oceania routes.
A container ship at sea.
04 Jun 2018
Dozens of shippers have complained for months about the Asia-east coast of South America trade lane’s lack of space.
A Hapag Lloyd ship.
30 May 2018
Concerning the peak season fee, at the same time that Hapag-Lloyd added a $1 fuel surcharge, the ocean carrier surprised the market with a peak season surcharge of $55 per TEU that it said will be levied from June 1 on all trades out of China.
An Evergreen ship.
25 May 2018
However, freight forwarders and shippers said they did not expect the disappearance of two carrier’s trans-Atlantic services to have much impact on capacity on the United States-Northern Europe route.
Maersk and MSC vessels pass each other outside the Port of Rotterdam.
25 May 2018
With such a sharp increase in bunker fuel prices that dragged carriers into a loss-making first quarter, it is no surprise that Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co. will levy an emergency bunker surcharge from June 1.
Port of Los Angeles.
18 May 2018
After more than a year of year-over-year negative comparisons since the Hanjin bankruptcy, trans-Pacific spot rates to the East Coast reached parity with the same week a year ago, and almost reached parity to the West Coast, indicating that spot rates have returned to normal seasonal trends.
Port of Santos.
18 May 2018
Although volumes and rates on the Asia to east coast South America trade are rising, capacity is not keeping pace, and one substantive business model reason may be at the heart of why ocean carriers are reluctant to ramp up service.
The Port of Los Angeles.
16 May 2018
Beneficial cargo owners will enjoy lower ocean freight rates in their 2018-2019 service contracts, but the total all-in charge for ocean, truck, and bunker fuel costs will be higher than last year.
Port of Ensenada.
15 May 2018
As shipping rates into Mexcio drop and US trucking rates rise, shippers are routing cargo directly through Mexican ports and along Mexican roads, bypassing US West Coast ports.
Port of Shanghai Hangshan.
11 May 2018
The latest move in the past three weeks firmly reversed a down trend that began immediately after the Lunar New Year pulled prices down to a level not seen in more than a year.
09 May 2018
China is increasing pressure on US exporters, creating costly delays. 
09 May 2018
A series of factors has lined up to ensure European shippers importing air cargo from Asia will be stuck with services to the congested hub airports.
The Port of Los Angeles.
27 Apr 2018
Beneficial cargo owners don’t know how to interpret a 21.8 percent increase to the West Coast and an 8.1 percent jump to the East Coast in spot rates this week. There are two, alternate theories regarding why this occurred.
A ONE ship.
27 Apr 2018
All three carriers in Ocean Network Express highlighted the supply-demand balance as having an influence on container industry financials, with freight rates stronger than during the previous year but lower than expected.
21 Apr 2018
Sponsored: DB Schenker's Philippe Gilbert, CEO, Americas and CEO, Asia Pacific Ditlev Blicher on data innovation, the rise of Asia, and challenges of real-time collaboration across the supply chain.
Port Houston.
18 Apr 2018
There are good reasons why participants at the 3rd Annual JOC Gulf Shipping Conference in Houston this week are bullish on US Gulf ports: the region’s growth is outpacing other US coasts, Asian import growth is promising, and the potential exists for Gulf ports to funnel a rebound in Latin American trade. Those are three legitimate growth engines and the resin boom has not even begun yet.
Recycling plastic waste.
17 Apr 2018
The decline in US exports took place even before trade war rhetoric between the United States and China began to heat up.
Port of Durban.
16 Apr 2018
Greater container demand is good for African economies, but the underinvestment in the continent's ports and inland logistics networks is leading to mounting bottlenecks.
Port of Rotterdam.
13 Apr 2018
There is no stopping the decline in the Asia-North Europe spot rate, which is now at its lowest level in more than a year. With the market deep in the slow season and capacity still coming online, shippers are not in a mood to pay more on the spot market.
12 Apr 2018
Sponsored: JOC Senior Content Editor Alessandra Barrett and Port of Long Beach Chief Commercial and Operations Officer Noel Hacegaba dive into the implications of technology for ports and the supply chain as a whole.
An APL container ship.
11 Apr 2018
Shippers looking to send goods from Latin America west — especially from Mexico — to China and the Far East, and in the other direction, have a growing list of options after the launch of three new services.
06 Apr 2018
It is the slow post-Lunar New Year season, but spot rates are now at a 12-month low, with China manufacturing production also starting to slow down.
Port of Los Angeles.
03 Apr 2018
Equally significant, the increases pushed the spot rates above the psychologically significant $1,000 and $2,000 levels, for the West Coast and East Coast, respectively.
Maersk Line SeaLand.
29 Mar 2018
The regional carrier's new service will offer fewer port calls — enabling it to build a larger buffer into its schedule.
Port of Los Angeles.
23 Mar 2018
Beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) continue to enjoy low spot rates in the eastbound Pacific despite carriers’ attempts to reduce effective capacity through blank sailings. However, small and mid-size BCOs in LA-LB are paying a price for the blank sailings, as terminals cancel work shifts to save money.
21 Mar 2018
Capacity scheduled for deployment on the Asia-North Europe and Mediterranean trades over the next 12 weeks is well above the expected demand for the year.