As supply chain disruptions ease and consumer demand cools, freight and charter rates are trending downwards, despite remaining elevated by historical standards. This has prompted liners to enact blank sailings to cut back on effective capacity and keep rates up. Inland disruptions have proven to be the largest bottlenecks in slowing down the processing of containers at ports, adding that the disruptions were “kicking the can down the road by masking a more deleterious impact on freight rates”.
Cargo is finally flowing through the port of Oakland and Long Beach following the truckers’ blockade and protests against AB5. On Friday, the vessel backlog had reached 12, and dwell times of import containers had risen to more than two weeks in Oakland specifically.
A strike by ground workers for Deutsche Lufthansa seeking higher pay has forced the airline to cancel hundreds of flights at its Frankfurt international hub and Munich, with many cargo shipments expected to be delayed. Pilots will also hold a vote soon to strike in support of the ground crews – more news to follow next week.
Asia to US (TPEB) Market Update:
Spot rates continue to fall with blank sailings on the rise. Blank sailings remain all too common in the market, which carriers are pairing with the low spot rates and demand. Schedule reliability among the alliances remains low and varied. On-street container dwell is elevated and inventory on terminals is reaching max capacity at some inland locations. Containers are ground stacked at the rail as a result of the insufficient chassis supply and-or rail traffic imbalances in: Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Memphis, Denver, St Louis, Santa Teresa and Omaha. Temporary service pauses and train metering have been enacted by the railroads.
Europe to US (TAWB) Market Update:
Demand for August is expected to be lower due to some European factories closing from late July until mid-August. Anticipate a high return of demand beginning in September. Congestion is improving on both the East and West Coast but is still far from normality. Space and equipment availability remains the biggest challenge for all EU origins, particularly in the Mediterranean area. Low empty stacks at inland depots, prioritize pick up from the Port of Loading.
US to Asia Market Update:
Vessel arrivals and available capacity remain fluid for all U.S. West Coast (USWC) ports. USEC ports continue to see challenges with vessel congestion and some vessel strings still omitting Charleston and Savannah entirely. Erratic vessel schedules continue to cause significant challenges with posted earliest return dates and vessel cut-offs at the port.
US to Europe Market Update:
Congestion issues persist in Europe due to local labor actions at base ports in Germany and the Netherlands. The port of Houston continues to experience significant capacity constraints due to schedule delays and port congestion with one service being reduced from weekly to biweekly. USWC service to Europe remains extremely tight due to void sailings and skipped ports caused by systematic delays. USWC coverage for Mediterranean ports now has reduced capacity due to one string being phased out. All carriers have issued a booking stop for shipments to Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.