Trade Lanes

Trade Lanes

In-depth news and analysis of the world's major shipping trade lanes including the trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, Asia-Europe and more.

Several variables can affect a trade lane's popularity — including its inclusion/discontinuance by an ocean carrier. The container line landscape is constantly evolving as market dynamics present new challenges to the industry.


Negotiations for 2019-2020 shipping contracts will be difficult on a number of fronts.

News & Analysis

Trans-Pacific spot rates stabilize ahead of projected import bump
25 Oct 2019
Spot rates on the eastbound Pacific stabilized as carriers prepare for a possible spike in imports from China next month ahead of the next round of tariffs scheduled to take effect Dec. 15 in US-China trade war.
25 Oct 2019
Rates on Asia–Europe have edged upwards and volume on the trade continues to grow in an apparent contradiction of the gloomy trading environment.
25 Oct 2019
Imports of household products from Asia increased just 0.6 percent through August because of US-China trade war. But with China’s dominant role in that sector and number two Vietnam at capacity, there will be no significant shift in sourcing away from China.
22 Oct 2019
Impressive diversification of export markets in Europe, Southeast Asia, and South America has shielded US resin shippers from the worst effects of the trade war with China.
18 Oct 2019
A slight increase in eastbound trans-Pacific spot rates reflects final shipments that left China before Golden Week, but dozens of blank sailings already announced for October-November indicate carriers expect imports to be weak going forward.
17 Oct 2019
US imports from China fell 9.3 percent in September, the fifth straight monthly decline. Coupled with 37 blank sailings for October and November, it appears peak season will end on a sour note.
Blank sailings mount on slumping Asia-Europe trade
15 Oct 2019
The number of blanked sailings is growing on the Asia-Europe trades as carriers sit becalmed in the slack season with no clear idea of whether to expect a pre-Chinese New Year rush.
11 Oct 2019
The tariff war between the US and China has cooled significantly with news the two powers have reached a “very substantial” first phase of a trade deal.
09 Oct 2019
As manufacturing continues to shift from China to countries in Southeast Asia, the diversification of sourcing will result in an increase in trade flows and greater need for logistics support, speakers at the JOC TPM Asia Conference said.
08 Oct 2019
Growing US containerized exports to other countries in Asia are nowhere near enough to offset the rapidly declining exports to China as the US-China trade war drags on, exporters say.
08 Oct 2019
Carriers who enjoyed a strong first half of 2019 on the trans-Atlantic trade will have to temper their expectations for the fourth quarter following the WTO approval of US tariffs on a range of European imports.
07 Oct 2019
The US Customs and Border Protection is investigating three companies for possibly evading antidumping and countervailing duties on hardwood plywood imports.
03 Oct 2019
Retailers predict a November spike in imports driven by inventory replenishment and the race to get ahead of Dec. 15 tariffs on $300 billion of imports from China.
03 Oct 2019
Small and mid-size NVOs are chipping away at the market shares of the top five NVOs in Asia-US trade by moving aggressively on smaller accounts and responding quickly to declining spot rates.
27 Sep 2019
After seeing four weeks of declining spot rates in September-- when rates should be increasing -- and with factory closures coming next week during Golden Week celebrations in China, NVOs who sell in the spot market say further rate declines are possible.
20 Sep 2019
With holiday season imports unable to gain traction and spot rates declining for the third consecutive week, peak-season 2019 will be defined by blanked sailings rather than surging cargo volumes.
13 Sep 2019
The larger container ships global carriers are starting to deploy in intra-Asia trades are putting pressure on specialist feeder lines already dealing with bad weather, port congestion, and shifting trade patterns.
10 Sep 2019
Retailers prepare for a projected 8.8 percent increase in imports in November as they ship early to get ahead of 15 percent tariffs scheduled to take effect Dec. 15 on remaining merchandise from China not already under tariff.
10 Sep 2019
The government of Panama has approved reduced toll rates for container ships transiting the Panama Canal, mindful of the need to stay competitive with the Suez Canal and with carriers ready to see fuel costs jump due to the IMO 2020 low-sulfur mandate.
09 Sep 2019
India’s Concor takes another step to keep pace with the global push for one-stop logistics shopping.
06 Sep 2019
The failure of Sept. 1 general rate increase to hold may indicate that earlier predictions of a weak peak season were correct.
04 Sep 2019
For the second consecutive year, Maersk and MSC have withdrawn the AE2/Swan Asia-Europe service in a bid to match capacity with slack demand.
30 Aug 2019
This week’s double-digit surge in spot rates is more tariff-driven than anything else because there is little cargo rolling in Asia to generate a bidding war among BCOs for vessel space leaving Asia.
23 Aug 2019
China announced its own round of new tariffs, prompting President Donald Trump late Friday to raise US tariffs on Chinese imports and instruct US companies to begin looking for alternatives to doing business with Beijing.
Trans-Pacific westbound spot rate plunge set to deepen
22 Aug 2019
Spot rates in the westbound Pacific took a sizable drop this month due to declining US exports to Asia, which are resulting in especially low vessel utilization rates. The normal strong rebound, which should begin in November, could be muted as a result.
13 Aug 2019
Imports from China were down 2 percent in July and 4.4 percent below the same period seven-month period in 2018.
12 Aug 2019
An almost 20 percent plunge in US imports from Asia in July shows the devastating impact of the trade war with China; import declines could worsen this fall with new tariffs starting in weeks.
08 Aug 2019
Reversing course, Global Port Tracker is now projecting monthly year-over-year declines, or minimal increases, in US merchandise imports in the trans-Pacific during the peak season.
Container contract reliability efforts gaining traction
05 Aug 2019
No-shows, or “downfall” in industry jargon, have plagued the industry for decades, but carrier attention has risen in recent years as pressure to increase waste rises, and digitalization provides opportunities to streamline the booking process
Firming trans-Pac spot rates signal calmer peak
02 Aug 2019
Spot rates in the eastbound Pacific are starting to firm, but will not increase as dramatically as they did during the 2018 peak season because importers are taking tariff announcements in stride.
2M keeps Asia-Europe sailings while rivals cut
24 Jul 2019
The 2M Alliance is holding off on blanking sailings while rival alliances slash capacity through July and August in a bid to shore up slumping rates.
23 Jul 2019
A new Hapag-Lloyd-led service linking southeast India to North Europe is expected to reduce the volumes India loses to foreign transshipment options.
22 Jul 2019
Cosco had a 10.3 percent share of capacity on the east coast of South America-to-Far East route earlier this year, and has plans to grow that with extra loaders and bigger vessels through the remainder of 2019.
19 Jul 2019
Tactical use of blank sailings and extra-loaders will prop up freight rates while ensuring capacity during a peak season that will be marked by uncertainties because of the US-China trade war, a JOC webinar was told.