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.

Commentary

This is the price the industry pays for its inability to reach a level of stability where container lines can make enough money from rates to cover their operating costs, much less turn a profit

News & Analysis

Antwerp port.
21 Aug 2018
Along with trade tensions and the non-finalized new trade rules between the United States and the European Union, trade stakeholders are concerned about the condition of Turkey’s economy, a further deterioration of which would substantially hurt regional trade.
Port of Los Angeles.
17 Aug 2018
Ocean carriers are enjoying rare pricing power, which is being propelled by three factors. But the impact of their decisions on customer relationships with beneficial cargo owners and truckers remains to be seen.
Port of Los Angeles.
10 Aug 2018
Space is so tight today in the eastbound Pacific that some beneficial cargo owners are paying higher than spot rates to get their shipments on vessels leaving Asia. However, there is a qualifier to that trend shippers should know about.
An OOCL ship.
06 Aug 2018
OOCL is sounding alarms about the impact of a trade war on international shipping volumes after a strong first half.
Port of Los Angeles.
03 Aug 2018
Strong US import volume is at the heart of the rise, and there are other signs of strength, but what’s the evaluation of the early move by industry professionals?
01 Aug 2018
Amid trade tensions, surging economic growth, and surface transportation constraints, this peak season promises to be volatile and challenging for US shippers.
Port of Oakland.
30 Jul 2018
There is, perhaps, no better evidence to senior management on the necessity of proactive carrier engagement than this: transportation conditions can change quickly in container shipping, and an annual contract with an ocean carrier is no guarantee of capacity when one needs it.
Port of Los Angeles.
27 Jul 2018
The ongoing uptrend is noteworthy because, historically, the largest increases in spot rates often occur in August, usually the busiest month of the peak shipping season, and October, the last month of the holiday shipping period.
Port of New York and New Jersey container ship.
27 Jul 2018
Although trade tensions between the United States and the European Union and their impact have been muted so far in 2018, trade stakeholders know that could change dramatically and quickly.
Rotterdam port.
27 Jul 2018
However, the rising spot rate, while encouraging for ocean carriers as peak season approaches, has not — so far — refuted a perennial concern regarding rates and the second half of the year.
20 Jul 2018
Eastbound trans-Pacific spot rates are mostly holding their strength even as volume growth slows and trade tensions mount.
20 Jul 2018
Could a looming trade war shake up one of the most stable global shipping lanes?
19 Jul 2018
Zim is linking up with the 2M Alliance in a bid to trim costs and capacity on the Asia-US East Coast trade.
18 Jul 2018
Declining volume is forcing capacity cuts and heaping additional pressure on carriers battling to cope with rising operating costs.
17 Jul 2018
A new service from APL will test the hypothesis that shippers will pay more for better service, if it is available.
Port of Los Angeles.
13 Jul 2018
Eastbound Pacific spot rates rose for the second straight week as Cosco and Ocean Alliance partners became the third carrier alliance to announce peak season cuts in services.
The Port of Los Angeles.
11 Jul 2018
This much is known about rates for US importers from Asia heading into peak season: there are factors that would generate firm-to-higher rates, but also historical factors that would lead to a softening of rates.
Port of Long Beach.
09 Jul 2018
US importers plan to bring in record container volume this peak season, which will translate into an impressive 2018 year-end gain compared with 2017.
Port of Hamburg.
09 Jul 2018
However, far from being an omen of declining demand, headhaul rates from Europe to the United States have strengthened as peak season gets under way.
Port of Los Angeles.
06 Jul 2018
Beneficial cargo owners can anticipate higher rates this peak season as Yang Ming and its THE Alliance partners announce removal of a trans-Pacific string. This development follows a similar service reduction in late June by the 2M Alliance and was accompanied Friday by an increase of 20 to 30 percent in spot rates.
Port of Oakland.
27 Jun 2018
Shippers have long pushed back against index-linked contracts, due to low rates from chronic overcapacity, but the methodology at the core of Xeneta’s new index might satisfy shippers — as well as solve several business operation problems.
An MSC ship.
22 Jun 2018
Several factors, including mega-ships deployed, North Asia congestion, rising bunker fuel prices, and the impact of Trump administration tariffs, are compromising schedule integrity in the trans-Pacific.
An SM Line ship.
13 Jun 2018
SM Line said growing volume in the second half of the year should return rates to a level that covers operation costs.
An APL ship.
13 Jun 2018
Known as Eagle GO Guaranteed, APL is extending the service to Asia-Europe and Asia-Mediterranean trades, following a successful implementation of the shipping option on the trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic, and Oceania routes.
A container ship at sea.
04 Jun 2018
Dozens of shippers have complained for months about the Asia-east coast of South America trade lane’s lack of space.
A Hapag Lloyd ship.
30 May 2018
Concerning the peak season fee, at the same time that Hapag-Lloyd added a $1 fuel surcharge, the ocean carrier surprised the market with a peak season surcharge of $55 per TEU that it said will be levied from June 1 on all trades out of China.
An Evergreen ship.
25 May 2018
However, freight forwarders and shippers said they did not expect the disappearance of two carrier’s trans-Atlantic services to have much impact on capacity on the United States-Northern Europe route.
Maersk and MSC vessels pass each other outside the Port of Rotterdam.
25 May 2018
With such a sharp increase in bunker fuel prices that dragged carriers into a loss-making first quarter, it is no surprise that Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co. will levy an emergency bunker surcharge from June 1.
Port of Los Angeles.
18 May 2018
After more than a year of year-over-year negative comparisons since the Hanjin bankruptcy, trans-Pacific spot rates to the East Coast reached parity with the same week a year ago, and almost reached parity to the West Coast, indicating that spot rates have returned to normal seasonal trends.
Port of Santos.
18 May 2018
Although volumes and rates on the Asia to east coast South America trade are rising, capacity is not keeping pace, and one substantive business model reason may be at the heart of why ocean carriers are reluctant to ramp up service.
The Port of Los Angeles.
16 May 2018
Beneficial cargo owners will enjoy lower ocean freight rates in their 2018-2019 service contracts, but the total all-in charge for ocean, truck, and bunker fuel costs will be higher than last year.
Port of Ensenada.
15 May 2018
As shipping rates into Mexcio drop and US trucking rates rise, shippers are routing cargo directly through Mexican ports and along Mexican roads, bypassing US West Coast ports.
Port of Shanghai Hangshan.
11 May 2018
The latest move in the past three weeks firmly reversed a down trend that began immediately after the Lunar New Year pulled prices down to a level not seen in more than a year.
09 May 2018
China is increasing pressure on US exporters, creating costly delays. 
09 May 2018
A series of factors has lined up to ensure European shippers importing air cargo from Asia will be stuck with services to the congested hub airports.