Trans-Pacific Trade

Trans-Pacific Trade

The trans-Pacific ocean shipping market is by far North America’s largest trade lane, accounting for nearly 20 million 20-foot-equivalent container units in the U.S. trade alone in 2012.

The market is dominated by imports by large retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s, which, unlike in other markets, tend to contract directly with ocean carriers rather than through forwarders, as is typically the case in the Asia-Europe market. As a result of the one-year contracts that retailers and other large shippers typically sign as of May 1 each year, freight rates in the trans-Pacific eastbound trade tend to be less volatile than in Asia-Europe.

Key developments in the trans-Pacific include the approaching 2015 expansion of the Panama Canal and its potentially huge impact on routing of Asia goods into North America, Canadian West Coast ports’ growing success in attracting U.S.-bound cargo, and West Coast ports’ expected response to these competitive challenges.

Exports moving to those markets typically are lower-value commodities such as wastepaper and scrap that keep China’s manufacturing and packaging industries humming.

Special Coverage

The results of the 2014-15 service contracting season in the eastbound Pacific are in, and from the perspective of ocean carriers, they’re not pretty.

News & Analysis

21 Nov 2014
Five carriers today joined Mediterranean Shipping Co. in announcing congestion surcharges on cargo heading from Asia to U.S. West Coast ports.
29 Oct 2014
Chinese package delivery company S.F. Express was the fastest-growing global transportation company in 2013, increasing revenue 40.6 percent in a year when the 50 largest transport operators saw revenue go flat.
 Kansas City Southern Railway
24 Oct 2014
Kansas City Southern Railway is talking with ocean carriers and beneficial cargo owners about diverting shipments bound for the U.S. Gulf region away from congestion-wracked Los Angeles-Long Beach to the Port of Lazaro Cardenas in south-central Mexico.
15 Oct 2014
A record number of ship deliveries will combine with declining scrapping rates and mid-single-digit growth in volume to extend the gap between container ship supply and demand through 2015, according to a leading maritime research consultant.
07 Oct 2014
Containerized exports from Asia to Europe and North America increased year-over-year in August, but spot rates in the Asia-to-Europe and North America trade lanes dropped, according to Container Trade Statistics.
03 Oct 2014
UPS added 766 U.S. postal codes to its UPS Worldwide Express Plus network in the third quarter, extending the reach of its international earliest morning service deeper into the U.S.

Commentary

Nightmare scenarios are occurring all day, every day at the two biggest U.S. container ports, and the customers receiving some of the worst service are among the nation's largest shippers.

Video

William Rooney, Kuehne + Nagel vice president, responds to questions about the current slower growth environment and the NVO ability to provide “something broader than rates” as the trans-Pacific trade evolves.
Stephane Rambaud, senior vice president at C.H. Robinson, discusses the integration of Phoenix International, which the logistics firm acquired in 2012, the company's consolidation services, and the challenges of volatility in the trans-Pacific trade.
Steven Cernak, chief executive and port director of Port Everglades, and James Hertwig, president of Florida East Coast Railway, discuss their organizations’ recent performance, their partnership in a new intermodal container transfer facility, and the opportunities they see and projects they are pursuing for further growth.