Freight Right Industry Outlook August 2021
Ocean Freight Update
Asia to North America
Rates: August 1 General Rate Increase implemented and another expected for August 15 as well as a Peak Season Surcharge set for September 1.
Freightos Baltic Index (FBX) indicates rates have risen to both the East and the West Coast in the last week, 29% to $20,636 and 36% to $18,555 per 40ft unit, respectively.
Capacity: With demand increasing as peak season sets in, extra capacity gained by additional vessels/charters being fully utilized has been diminished and capacity remains tight despite blank sailings. Equipment also remains critically low.
Schedule Reliability: Low
Qingdao: Schedule reliability to the Pacific Southwest is critically low with some carriers not even accepting bookings to this area. The Pacific Northwest is also critical with only one available sailing in August. Space to the USEC is slightly better, however it is nearly impossible to get a booking.
Ningbo: Three blanked sailings to the PNW in August. ONly bookings made at least one month before departure are actually moving.
Shanghai: Space is very tight to PNW and USEC with no bookings available, even for premiums.
Xiamen: Many carriers are facing equipment issues in Xiamen, so the only way to achieve a booking is to utilize a 20 or 40 ft general purpose container.
Yantian: Only the highest paying customers are acquiring space from Yanitan.
Los Angeles/Long Beach: Large amounts of vessels can again be seen in the San Pedro bay meaning that shippers can expect large amounts of congestion at the LA ports.
Notes: The transpacific westbound is one of the most impacted lanes and unless you are willing to pay premiums and book 4-6 weeks there is no space, and the situation is only expected to worsen in August and September. We recommend planning as far in advance as possible and for an intermodal move plan for almost double the transport time due to congestion at the ports, or terminate move at coastal ports to avoid rail congestion.
Europe to North America (Transatlantic Westbound)
Rates: Increasing, GRI implemented August 1. FBX indicates a .3% rate decrease in the last week with the average cost for a 40ft container at $5,995
Schedule Reliability: No blank sailings announced, but port congestion and delays on the rail network make for low reliability.
Capacity: Capacity is tight with high demand on all services. Equipment and space can only be attained through premium rates and with early bookings
Notes: We recommend booking at least 5 weeks prior to CRD for a chance at securing space. Delays are likely, so budget for premium charges for urgent cargo needing high reliability.
India to North America
Rates: Increasing and expected to continue to increase this month and through September
Schedule Reliability: Carriers are omitting many ports in the Indian Subcontinent Region in an effort to re-align schedules. More omissions are expected later in August and Early September.
Capacity: Severe shortage of space and equipment to the U.S. West Coast. Inland depots are also facing critical shortages as equipment is hard to reposition.
Ports: With India exporting significantly more than exporting than is typical, equipment is out of balance in many major ports. In particular, South India is a challenge with little feeder capacity.
We highly suggest using premiums on urgent shipments and those with Cargo Ready Date approaching. Please book as early as possible.
North America to Asia
Rates: Increasing, with many carriers planning to implement a GRI for Septemner. FBX reports rates average $1,208 to the East Coast and $1,130 to the West Coast per 40ft container.
Schedule Reliability: Low
Capacity: Space is tight for the West Coast, however there are signs of relief for the East Coast.
Ports: Congestion remains severe at US ports with additional issues from equipment shortages at most major ports and rail ramps. We recommended factoring in extra lead time for trucking as chassis are hard to come by.
Notes: With severe vessel congestion in US ports, equipment shortages, and rising rates we recommend booking at least 4 weeks before CRD.
North America to Europe
Rates: Steady. FBX reports a 2% drop with an average rate of $667 per 40ft container.
Schedule Reliability: Transitioning, still some delays as some major carriers restructure their capacity on this lane.
Capacity: Space is very tight from the US West Coast. However, with proper lead time getting space from the East Coast is manageable.
Ports: Congestion remains severe at US ports with additional issues from equipment shortages at most major ports and rail ramps. We recommended factoring in extra lead time for trucking as chassis are hard to come by. Chassis availability is also tight at most major ports and rail ramps.
While rates are remaining steady, port congestion in the US and North Europe is resulting in delays along this route. We recommend booking at least 4 weeks in advance for shipments from the East Coast and at least 5-6 from the West Coast.
Also, prepare for tight chassis availability by allowing for more lead time once your freight reaches the destination port and is ready to be trucked.
Air Freight Update
Europe to North America: Demand is still strong, but there is sufficient capacity. Some delays getting goods from factories to the airports, so plan some extra lead time for that.
North America to Asia/Europe: With TSA’s 100% screening rule now in effect for over a month, air cargo handlers are starting to get on top of the changes, however, there are still long lines reported for cargo throughput so plan in some extra lead time for that.
Export demand from the US continues steady and stable, with no meaningful capacity added. Large shipments from major gateways in the U.S. may take 2-3 days from booking to uplift.
Ground handlers at major airports LAX, ORD, and JFK report large backlogs of import cargo, meaning that it takes 2-5 days to break down import freight.
Finally, trucking for airport transfers, local pickup, and deliveries nationwide is very scarce.
The drastically changed and changing landscape of international freight forwarding required equally progressing technology.
For FBA sellers who are affected by Amazon's recent ASIN limits, the best solution may be utilizing a third-party prep-center.