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

06 Dec 2022
Sources say all major liners are facing challenges finding enough cargo to fill export space allocations for India and, as such, freight rates are already at near pre-pandemic levels.
02 Dec 2022
An economic partnership agreement signed earlier this year between India and the United Arab Emirates is driving new trade opportunities, prompting ocean carriers to boost service between the two countries.
30 Nov 2022
Sharply falling rates and demand signal an end to the extreme profitability enjoyed by carriers over the last two years, according to analysts.
29 Nov 2022
The ability of ocean carriers to manage their growing supply of excess capacity is becoming weaker by the week as supply chain bottlenecks ease and global economic headwinds strengthen.
23 Nov 2022
The resumed service at India’s VOC comes as the port has embarked on a raft of new infrastructure projects to position itself as an alternative transshipment hub to Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port.
18 Nov 2022
While a stabilization of rates on the trades out of India was always in the cards, the speed at which the market turned has caught carriers off guard, says the head of the country’s container shipping lobby group.
17 Nov 2022
The new Maersk service is expected to drive more cargo volumes for India's Mundra port, which has already ousted JNPT as the country's busiest container gateway.
16 Nov 2022
Aggressive curtailing of capacity by container lines on the trans-Pacific has done little to prevent shippers from forecasting sizable contract rate reductions next spring.
08 Nov 2022
There appears to be little that ocean carriers can do to stem an Asia-Europe spot market in free-fall as economic conditions deteriorate and freight volumes continue to soften.
08 Nov 2022
The accelerated blankings in the eastbound trans-Pacific come after US imports in September and October “can at best be described as a complete collapse in demand growth,” according to Sea-Intelligence Maritime Analysis.
03 Nov 2022
Carriers are trying to work out the additional costs per container of complying with Europe’s ETS, but there is little clarity over how the rule will be applied with less than eight weeks to go before implementation.
25 Oct 2022
The surcharge revisions come as average contract prices out of Indian trades have already declined to the mid-2021 trendline and could drop further to near pre-pandemic levels.
24 Oct 2022
US ports saw a jump in shipments from Bangladesh this year through August, mostly from apparel and clothing accessories, as importers support a “China-plus-one” sourcing strategy.
24 Oct 2022
The rate declines seen in major ocean trades this year have begun to seep into intra-Asia markets, with regional carriers now reporting lower revenues and volumes.
21 Oct 2022
Rates on ocean trades from India continue to slide, although the country’s shipping lobby thinks prices will eventually settle at a midpoint between pre-pandemic levels and the record highs of earlier this year.
20 Oct 2022
Buyers of ocean capacity have long used freight rate indexes to gauge the direction of the market, but disruption and sky-high costs during the COVID-19 pandemic have elevated their prominence, often leading to difficult discussions with their executive leadership.
14 Oct 2022
Market conditions may be normalizing for carriers as rates and demand drop closer to 2019 levels, but shippers in Europe continue to battle disruption in their import cargo flows.
13 Oct 2022
Although trans-Pacific carriers are now rushing to blank sailings, the capacity overhang in the trade lane is so great that industry analysts say excess space will continue to plague the trade lane.
12 Oct 2022
As carriers get even more aggressive in pulling trans-Pacific capacity, they are setting up the market for a spot rate rebound at the first sign of a pick-up in volumes.
30 Sep 2022
Growth forecasts for Indian exports have been challenged by the dual headwinds of adverse geopolitical factors and rising inflationary pressures plaguing larger economies.
29 Sep 2022
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.
28 Sep 2022
Foreign transshipment demand for Indian containerized exports and imports remains considerable despite recent heightened stakeholder efforts to tame the costly mode in the absence of insufficient origin-to-destination direct connections.
23 Sep 2022
A vigorous blank sailings program on the Asia-North Europe trade lane has yet to stem the rapid decline in spot rates that have fallen more than 50 percent since Jan. 1.
22 Sep 2022
The growing popularity of “China-plus-one” sourcing strategies is working to India’s benefit, sending trade between the US and India to record highs as shippers seek to diversify their supply chains.
20 Sep 2022
With prices on east-west routes out of Asia in freefall, high rate levels on the trans-Atlantic is encouraging carriers to shift capacity into the westbound trade, putting those rates under pressure.
16 Sep 2022
Maersk said feeder services connecting via Panama, northern Brazil, and the Caribbean were full and cargo was being rolled, although the carrier expected the situation to improve this month.
13 Sep 2022
Carriers and their customers say they will not rush into contract negotiations this fall as they did last year, but rather wait for the volatility in the trans-Pacific to dissipate and the direction of the US economy to become clearer.
12 Sep 2022
Vessel capacity freed up from easing congestion, combined with the sheer size of the orderbook, will be difficult for carriers to manage in a weakening demand environment, shipping association BIMCO says.
01 Sep 2022
Shippers using Hazira have been hit by serious schedule reliability issues as carriers often blank calls to the port to cover delays at other ports and maintain a weekly sailing frequency.
30 Aug 2022
Post-production inventories in Europe increased at the sharpest pace in more than 25 years as weakening demand leaves firms battling to sell finished products.
25 Aug 2022
The trans-Atlantic westbound trade has bucked the falling rate trend on the major trade routes out of Asia, and carriers are shifting capacity to take advantage.
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.