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

The Shanghai-northern Europe spot rate slipped 2.2 percent to $1,203.
25 Jul 2014
Price drops continued to be reflected in the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index this week, as every major lane on the index saw spot rates fall.
The Drewry benchmark spot rate from Hong Kong to Los Angeles dropped $100 this week to $1,800 per FEU.
23 Jul 2014
With another week left before carriers in the trans-Pacific lanes attempt a general rate increase of $600 per 40-foot container, spot rates from Asia to the U.S. West Coast dropped once again.
Spot rates from Shanghai to Northern Europe sank 5.5 percent to $1,230 per TEU this week.
18 Jul 2014
Instability in the spot rate market continued this week, as spot rates from Shanghai to northern Europe, the Mediterranean and both coasts of the United States sank yet again...
16 Jul 2014
The U.S.-Asia ocean container trade increased 2.7 percent to 20 million 20-foot-equivalent units in the 12 months ending March 2014 compared with the prior 12-month period, according to data from PIERS, the data division of JOC Group.
Shanghai-Northern Europe SCFI
11 Jul 2014
One week after spot rate gains from Shanghai to the United States and Europe, rates on the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index dropped yet again.
Drewry’s benchmark spot rate from Hong Kong to Los Angeles stood at $1,800 per 40-foot container this week
09 Jul 2014
Spot rates from Hong Kong to Los Angeles slid slightly this week.

Commentary

If there’s a theme to this year’s TPM Conference, it’s that 2014 is the year of the game-changer in international logistics. The changes the industry is grappling with as we congregate in Long Beach this week are profound and will define the main challenges confronting shippers, carriers, third-party logistics providers and others possibly for years.

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.