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

24 Nov 2021
Shippers with no alternative but to secure annual contracts are finding long-term rates at highly elevated levels even as the spot market shows signs of easing.
24 Nov 2021
Zim noted that in addition to significant transit time advantages, its new India string offers customers project cargo services and connections with other markets via its global network.
21 Oct 2021
The inauguration of HMM’s Far East-India-Latin America service comes as freight rates between Asia and Brazil are at a record high of around $13,000/FEU.
15 Oct 2021
The average cost to ship an FEU from India’s main container ports to the US East and West coasts is now hovering near $14,000 for low-volume customers.
08 Oct 2021
A new routing through Jebel Ali builds on a string of additional capacity deployments by foreign mainliners active out of Indian trades, with the US route being the most sought-after bet.
30 Sep 2021
While carriers are enhancing intra-Asia operations, the moves come as shippers are seeing a shortfall in intra-Asia capacity as carriers skip port calls or redeploy larger vessels on main east-west trades, even as volumes surge.
23 Sep 2021
The latest move to tap into India’s export growth comes via a vessel-sharing deal between four regional carriers predominantly operating on intra-Asia trades.
22 Sep 2021
With a declared transit time of 21 days from India’s JNPT to Norfolk, the new string boasts the fastest connection on the booming trade route, with the first westbound sailing scheduled for Oct. 25.
20 Sep 2021
NVOs controlled more than half of total eastbound trans-Pacific volume through the first eight months of 2021, indicating a shift toward reliance on spot rates in the midst of widespread vessel and equipment shortages stemming from a massive spike in consumer demand.
14 Sep 2021
Reduced harvesting in Asia has created additional demand for agricultural goods from the US and Australia, but a shortage of intra-Asia feeder ships is preventing exporters from taking full advantage.
07 Sep 2021
The addition of Halifax reflects MSC’s bullish assessment of India’s export outlook, with elevated sourcing from North American markets being a major contributing factor to a stronger-than-expected volume rebound.
01 Sep 2021
Disruption to Asia-North Europe supply chains is growing as the trade moves into its peak shipping period facing soaring rates and falling service levels.
09 Aug 2021
The head of India’s container shipping lines group says carriers have pulled out all the stops to improve equipment flow and vessel capacity, noting that supply challenges have been compounded by congestion across international hub ports.
27 Jul 2021
The reopening of the US and European economies after last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns spurred a resurgence in the trans-Atlantic container trade as business activity in two of the world’s largest economies showed better than expected growth in May, with increases concentrated at US ports that have undergone major expansions.
23 Jul 2021
North American companies are signaling that they will need to build up larger inventory buffers to meet strong US consumer demand, something that will keep up pressure on ocean freight.
21 Jul 2021
US retail inventories as a percent of sales sits at an all-time low, but many importers and shippers are getting priced out of restocking because of high ocean freight rates.
30 Jun 2021
Indian exporters already facing July general rate increases from carriers have a new cost to worry about — a “heavy lift surcharge” levied by Hapag-Lloyd, with other liners expected to follow suit.
23 Jun 2021
The new shuttle operation in southern India is significant as Colombo and Jebel Ali dominate transshipment movement to and from the east coast of the country.
25 May 2021
Walmart remained atop the list of the 100 largest US importers by a wide margin in 2020, while Koch Industries retained the No. 1 export spot.
24 May 2021
A review of which goods and commodities saw the sharpest decreases and increases in 2020 speaks to how Americans spent their money while socially distanced and which sectors will continue to see heightened demand heading into the traditional peak season before the winter holidays.
03 May 2021
Rates are increasing again on the Asia-East Coast of South America trade even as South American importers are facing a longer wait getting products from Asia.  
22 Apr 2021
Ongoing congestion and delays on the US West Coast have led Hapag-Lloyd to temporarily halt bookings for all cargoes due there from Latin America as carriers announced general rate increases on the trade.
09 Apr 2021
Although trade between the US and Latin America has been spared the severe disruptions seen on the US West Coast, sources say PortMiami has seen vessel unloading times spike because of ships arriving one to two days late.
25 Mar 2021
With more than 30 container ships still waiting to transit the Suez Canal on Thursday, major ports in Europe are bracing for a deluge of cargo once the grounded Ever Given is refloated.
18 Mar 2021
The consensus among shippers, forwarders, and carriers is that strong consumer demand in North America will continue through the second quarter and into the traditional peak season.
15 Mar 2021
There is no sign from the operational side of the container shipping industry that the bottlenecks will be resolved in the short term., meaning shippers need to plan for the current challenges to be a normal state of affairs for a while longer.
01 Mar 2021
US consumer spending drove unexpectedly strong demand for trans-Pacific container shipping in 2020, with experts at TPM21 saying the strength will likely last well into this year.
26 Feb 2021
India transshipment gains are noteworthy for a region sporting excess port capacity, but there is little relief for cargo owners getting bombarded with an unrelenting wave of carrier general rate increases
28 Jan 2021
Although a sudden demand upswing is a key factor helping carriers keep rates at elevated levels on India trades, that undiminished pricing power also seems to reflect their success in deftly managing capacity as the pandemic quagmire lingers.
22 Jan 2021
Attempts to slow travel for the two-week Lunar New Year celebration come amid new COVID-19 outbreaks in northern mainland China that triggered lockdowns in 11 regions.
21 Jan 2021
While an extra-loader move is significant, it remains to be seen whether that would be enough to balance out the needs of Indian exporters when cargo rolling has become a critical issue on high-demand routes.
08 Jan 2021
Some shipping executives believe that with trans-Pac eastbound space sold out through Chinese New Year, the ongoing impact of the pandemic on buying patterns favoring household goods versus travel and leisure will extend the import surge well into 2021.
18 Dec 2020
Brazilian forwarders are also facing the problem of rolled cargo that is adding up to a month to cargo transit times, even as importers delay placing orders amid the economic uncertainty created by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
11 Dec 2020
Asia-Europe rates are now three times higher than last December and coincide with the start of what are sure to be tense contract negotiations between carriers and shippers.
10 Dec 2020
Non-vessel-operating common carriers have told imports will likely remain strong beyond April and possibly through peak season 2021.