Major carriers and smaller liners are consolidating and halting trans-Pacific services amid a sharp drop in spot freight rates that hasn’t been cured by blank sailings.
Spot rates in the eastbound trans-Pacific are dropping so quickly — and by such large amounts — that industry analysts warn carriers could soon be carrying containers at a loss.
Spot rates on some air cargo routes out of Asia have fallen below long-term contract levels, mirroring the development in ocean shipping.
Spot rates on the Asia–North Europe trade lane have now fallen 50 percent since January as softening demand and worsening economic indicators lead to a steady slowdown of the container shipping market.
The legacy of the pandemic’s effect on supply chains will be less about permanent cost increases and more about permanently altered attitudes towards risk, writes JOC’s Peter Tirschwell.