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.

Trade lane decisions

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. See how the companies involved have changed as a result of mergers and acquisitions since 1977.


Despite current events you may read about, this is an age that provides advantages to those who proactively cultivate relationships. And there’s perhaps no better case study to support that theory than a shipper’s/forwarder’s relationship with an ocean carrier.

News & Analysis

21 Apr 2018
Sponsored: DB Schenker's Philippe Gilbert, CEO, Americas and CEO, Asia Pacific Ditlev Blicher on data innovation, the rise of Asia, and challenges of real-time collaboration across the supply chain.
Port Houston.
18 Apr 2018
There are good reasons why participants at the 3rd Annual JOC Gulf Shipping Conference in Houston this week are bullish on US Gulf ports: the region’s growth is outpacing other US coasts, Asian import growth is promising, and the potential exists for Gulf ports to funnel a rebound in Latin American trade. Those are three legitimate growth engines and the resin boom has not even begun yet.
Recycling plastic waste.
17 Apr 2018
The decline in US exports took place even before trade war rhetoric between the United States and China began to heat up.
Port of Durban.
16 Apr 2018
Greater container demand is good for African economies, but the underinvestment in the continent's ports and inland logistics networks is leading to mounting bottlenecks.
Port of Rotterdam.
13 Apr 2018
There is no stopping the decline in the Asia-North Europe spot rate, which is now at its lowest level in more than a year. With the market deep in the slow season and capacity still coming online, shippers are not in a mood to pay more on the spot market.
12 Apr 2018
Sponsored: JOC Senior Content Editor Alessandra Barrett and Port of Long Beach Chief Commercial and Operations Officer Noel Hacegaba dive into the implications of technology for ports and the supply chain as a whole.
An APL container ship.
11 Apr 2018
Shippers looking to send goods from Latin America west — especially from Mexico — to China and the Far East, and in the other direction, have a growing list of options after the launch of three new services.
06 Apr 2018
It is the slow post-Lunar New Year season, but spot rates are now at a 12-month low, with China manufacturing production also starting to slow down.
Port of Los Angeles.
03 Apr 2018
Equally significant, the increases pushed the spot rates above the psychologically significant $1,000 and $2,000 levels, for the West Coast and East Coast, respectively.
Maersk Line SeaLand.
29 Mar 2018
The regional carrier's new service will offer fewer port calls — enabling it to build a larger buffer into its schedule.
Port of Los Angeles.
23 Mar 2018
Beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) continue to enjoy low spot rates in the eastbound Pacific despite carriers’ attempts to reduce effective capacity through blank sailings. However, small and mid-size BCOs in LA-LB are paying a price for the blank sailings, as terminals cancel work shifts to save money.
21 Mar 2018
Capacity scheduled for deployment on the Asia-North Europe and Mediterranean trades over the next 12 weeks is well above the expected demand for the year.
A container ship on the Mediterranean Sea.
20 Mar 2018
Rising demand for Europe exports in South America has pushed southbound volume ahead of the containers heading north.
Hapag-Lloyd ship..
16 Mar 2018
There was no sign of a peak shipping period on Asia-Europe routes in the run up to the Lunar New Year in 2018.
A container ship at sea.
15 Mar 2018
SM Line Corporation has again appealed to its larger compatriot rival Hyundai Merchant Marine to collaborate on trans-Pacific routes.
The Port of Los Angeles.
13 Mar 2018
Spot rates in the eastbound Pacific this week crashed through the psychologically important levels of $1,000 to the West Coast and $2,000 to the East Coast, despite continued growth in import volumes.
Port of Los Angeles.
09 Mar 2018
The Global Port Tracker projects monthly increases in containerized imports beginning in April, but a trade war precipitated by the Trump administration's steel and aluminum tariffs could change those projections later this year.
The Port of Los Angeles.
07 Mar 2018
From rising protectionism underscored by President Donald Trump’s attack on steel and aluminum imports, to a new reality regarding US surface capacity, there are new challenges for shippers and transportation providers that demand action rather than hand-wringing.
05 Mar 2018
Container shipping supply and demand appear to be moving closer toward balance, according to three economists addressing the 18th Annual TPM Conference in Long Beach.
A container ship leaves the Port of Savannah at sunset.
02 Mar 2018
Beneficial cargo owners will have more options to import cargo from Asia with the Port of Savannah receiving two new services this year and the Port of Jacksonville receiving one.
The Port of Los Angeles.
01 Mar 2018
Beneficial cargo owners can look for only modest rate hikes in service contract negotiations beginning this month, due to a projected 8 to 9 percent increase in trans-Pacific capacity, while imports are projected to increase 5 to 6 percent, according to Alphaliner.
A container ship crosses the Atlantic Ocean.
26 Feb 2018
Shippers sending goods between Europe and the United States should track the goods carefully and be ready to cope with delays, after a year of decreasing carrier schedule reliability on the trans-Atlantic routes.
Port of Long Beach.
22 Feb 2018
The 18th Annual TPM Conference marks the start of formal negotiations between many beneficial cargo owners and container lines on annual trans-Pacific service contracts. Price, as always, will drive those negotiations. However, as recent news demonstrates, price is not everything.
Central American ports such as Panama's Port of Colon are sending more containers to the United States.
14 Feb 2018
US imports from Central America surpassed 1 million TEU for the first time ever in 2017.
Port of Los Angeles.
12 Feb 2018
Beneficial cargo owners are enjoying some of the lowest pre-Lunar New Year spot rates of the past six years, but they should not necessarily expect that this will give them extra leverage in service contract negotiations beginning next month.
Matson container ship
08 Feb 2018
Consumers in Puerto Rico actually benefit from lower freight rates in the efficient Jones Act services that are marked by dedicated vessels and terminals, versus foreign-flag services to other Caribbean islands, Matson CEO Matt Cox said.
A container ship at the Port of Santos, Brazil.
05 Feb 2018
Price-wise, the Asia to East Coast of South America is one of the most volatile trade lanes in global trade — which is why analysts argue shippers should not use the trade’s spot rate to predict May service contract rates.
02 Feb 2018
The modest increases — two weeks before the Lunar New Year, when factories will close for a week or two — indicates that retailers are restocking their inventories and preparing for the spring shopping season at a measured pace.
Port of Felixstowe Trinity Berths 6 and 7
02 Feb 2018
Spot rates on the Asia–Europe and Med trades have remained subdued in the run up to Lunar New Year.
Hamburg Süd said the restructuring of the Pacific service strings to the South and Central American west coast and into the Caribbean.
31 Jan 2018
Hamburg Süd has withdrawn from a vessel-sharing agreement on the Asia-west coast of South America routes and will offer new services on the fast-growing trade.
30 Jan 2018
The sheer scale of China’s waste import business means exporters need to find alternative markets for their recyclable products.
29 Jan 2018
A new schedule outlined by Mediterranean Shipping Co. will substantially cut the time needed to send cargo from Europe to the US East Coast.
29 Jan 2018
The new container service will be Pensacola’s first. World Direct said the port near the tip of Florida’s panhandle will complement the carrier’s current calls at Port Manatee.
26 Jan 2018
The small change in spot rates this week suggests carriers are satisfied with the current capacity/demand economics in the Pacific.
26 Jan 2018
Spot rates on Asia-Europe/Asia-Mediterranean are holding steady, but rate increases for Feb. 1 are in the cards as the peak Lunar New Year shipping period approaches.