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

18 Aug 2022
While forwarder sources in India do not expect a rate collapse that will put shippers back in the driver’s seat anytime soon, the recent softening is a relief from the wild price hikes of the past two years.
17 Aug 2022
The value of China’s imports and exports with Southeast Asian countries rose more than 10 percent in H1 to $435 billion to make the ASEAN region China’s biggest trading partner.
09 Aug 2022
The Asia–Europe trade could face “significant overcapacity” when port congestion and related bottlenecks are resolved due to the slump in demand growth that has been ongoing for more than a year, according to analyst Sea-Intelligence.
08 Aug 2022
MSC’s move would appear to show some skepticism among ocean carriers active on India trades about their ability to hold firm on new rate hikes in the wake of ongoing demand pressure.
01 Aug 2022
India cargo owners are now dealing with a fresh levy linked to container weight, along with a new wave of general rate increases and surcharges that have already found their way into the market ahead of peak shipping season.
01 Aug 2022
A new intra-Asia trade pact has helped boost container activity in the region, while volumes to Europe, the Mediterranean, and Africa have dipped as a result.
29 Jul 2022
Retailers and forwarders in the eastbound trans-Pacific are facing an unusual dichotomy in which spot rates continue to deteriorate even though monthly import volumes from Asia remain at record or near-record levels.
19 Jul 2022
Idle containers are stacking up by the thousands in North America and Europe, but supply is plentiful at origin points in Asia, demonstrating the vast contrast in equipment fluidity at opposite ends of the supply chain.
15 Jul 2022
In a bid to maintain schedule integrity, carriers such as MSC and Hapag-Lloyd are implementing network changes on services from India to North Europe and the US East Coast.
08 Jul 2022
Forwarders say the intra-Asia market is likely to become more challenging in the third and fourth quarters with no significant increase in demand expected even as space and equipment availability remain tight.
28 Jun 2022
The Indian Ocean Service, a weekly connection between West India and North Europe, will operate with truncated port coverage on eight upcoming sailings between July and September.
27 Jun 2022
Rate levels on the major trade lanes out of Asia should be rising as peak season begins and key destination ports remain congested, but the spot market has continued to decline.
23 Jun 2022
Ocean carriers could find themselves under pressure from shippers to revisit long-term contracts as spot market rates tumble on the trans-Pacific and Asia-Europe trade lanes.
22 Jun 2022
The short-term cost of cutting maritime emissions in the Pacific Ocean will be relatively small compared with the market variability of rate levels, according to UNCTAD.
22 Jun 2022
An influx of equipment into the Indian market has caused rates to soften, but sources believe prices will climb again next month as the industry enters the traditional peak demand season.
14 Jun 2022
Importers in the US are finding higher volumes on the westbound trans-Atlantic are coming with soaring rate levels and record-low schedule reliability, with little relief in sight.
13 Jun 2022
While MSC’s move is the first known case of new general rate increases, industry sources believe other major carriers active in the India-US trade, notably Hapag-Lloyd and CMA CGM, will follow suit.
03 Jun 2022
Carriers have attempted to improve the supply/demand scenario across Indian trades by scaling up empty container repositioning and adding new services.
26 May 2022
With importers taking longer to pick up their containers from overflowing terminals at hub ports in North Europe, ship delays are increasing, particularly for the largest vessels serving the Asia–Europe trade.
23 May 2022
Walmart remained atop the list of the 100 largest US importers by a wide margin in 2021, while Koch Industries retained the No. 1 export spot.
18 May 2022
Intra-Asia carriers are posting record first-quarter profits, stepping into a profitable void left by mainline carriers who redeployed capacity to more lucrative east-west trades.
11 May 2022
The share of US imports from China compared to all Asia imports plunged roughly 6 percentage points between February and April amid COVID-19 lockdowns in Shenzhen and Shanghai.
03 May 2022
The new fiscal year has gotten off to an uneven start for Indian exporters, who are contending with port omissions and schedule rerouting on major strings to Europe and the US.
02 May 2022
Given recent challenges with connections via Colombo in Sri Lanka, carriers are turning to new transshipment options on India’s west and east coasts.
28 Apr 2022
The longer China’s COVID lockdowns persist and manufacturing is interrupted, the more pent-up demand will build and eventually be unleashed into the trans-Pacific.
27 Apr 2022
While sustained demand is a factor for the strength on the India–US trade, sources say carriers are playing a “cherry-picking” policy while signing contracts with shippers or forwarders, prioritizing the ones they see as more lucrative partners.
25 Apr 2022
The jury is still out on whether the steep fall in Asia-North Europe rate levels since Chinese New Year is purely seasonal or a reflection of slowing demand as inflation adds to mounting cost pressures.
07 Apr 2022
Falling consumer demand amid rising inflation in Brazil and the launch of a new service that has added capacity have conspired to push rates from Asia to the East Coast of South America to their lowest level in about 18 months.
07 Apr 2022
Sailing disruptions out of the East Coast of India are getting worse, forcing shippers to find alternatives, including rerouting cargo via West Coast ports.
28 Mar 2022
Shippers need to do a deep dive into freight rates, capacity offered, and schedule reliability if they want to properly understand ocean freight market dynamics as well as their own performance within the market, says JOC analyst Lars Jensen.
28 Mar 2022
A new loop from a consortium of carriers linking India and key ports in Asia demonstrates how carriers have been working to keep pace with resurgent export demand out of the country.
03 Mar 2022
The fast-evolving sanctions against Russia have created growing uncertainty in shipping circles, with thousands of inbound containers that can’t be delivered likely to further clog Europe’s already-congested terminals.
02 Mar 2022
As container lines pull back on inland point intermodal (IPI), US importers are rethinking their landside delivery plans and containerized freight is moving further inland before being deconsolidated.
28 Feb 2022
More carriers are launching intra-Asia services to take advantage of surging freight rates in the region.
25 Feb 2022
Ocean schedule reliability shows no signs of improving as two key services out of India plan to skip major ports in Europe and the US amid ongoing global congestion.