Trans-Atlantic Trade

Trans-Atlantic Trade

Once the United States' dominant international corridor, the centuries-old trade between Europe and North America has stagnated in recent years as recessions struck both continents and as Asia increased its manufacturing prowess. But while analysts would classify the trade as "mature," with little upside or downside, it's also stable, meaning carriers and shippers can plan their strategies without fear of the severe volatility seen in other east-west trades such as the trans-Pacific and Asia-Europe. For many in the trade, anticipation in recent years has centered around preparations for the onslaught of large mega-ships that will begin to pour through the Panama Canal when its decade-long expansion project is complete in 2015. Suddenly, those big ships are arriving early — but from an entirely different direction: through the Suez Canal from Asia. Driving the trend is the introduction of new 10,000-plus-TEU vessels on the Asia-Europe trade, cascading the 8,000-TEU ships that previously plied that trade to the trans-Pacific and, now, through the Suez Canal as carriers seek the economies of scale that they can’t find on the 5,000-TEU ships that are the largest that can transit the Panama Canal.

 

 

 

 

 

Special Coverage

Post-consolidation, US container trade has been dominated by the largest ocean carriers and alliances, but smaller, independent lines continue to find a market in the trans-Pacific.

News & Analysis

23 Mar 2020
Growth in trade between the United States and Europe decelerated only slightly in 2019, even as antagonism over tariffs, taxes, and subsidies on both sides of the Atlantic deepened.
21 May 2019
The automotive trade is waiting with bated breath for any tariffs coming out of the US Commerce Department’s investigation into the potential national security implications of imports of vehicles and parts.
port of Antwerp.
08 Jan 2019
Shippers can expect a far more aggressive approach to matching vessel supply with demand.
Container ships on the Elbe.
07 Jan 2019
Increasing use of the available capacity in both directions and the impact of service shifts in 2018 could mean shippers find it more difficult to find carrier space for containers this year.
09 Jan 2017
New UPS subsidiary Freightex will work closely with US-based Coyote Logistics.
06 Aug 2016
Concern over the fate of negotiations toward the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the snail’s pace of eurozone economic growth, growing fears of an imminent Italian banking crisis and the U.K.’s unexpected vote to quit the European Union is undermining the calm of the trans-Atlantic container trade.
03 Aug 2016
XPO's North American LTL operations, the former Con-way, led the company's drive to its first quarterly net profit.
02 Aug 2016
Overall U.S. container trade with European countries increased in the 12 months ending Mar. 31, 2016.
13 Mar 2016
The trans-Atlantic built on its reputation as one of the few reliable trades in a troubled container shipping market in 2015, but it faces tough challenges this year that might tarnish its image.
01 Sep 2015
$10 billion industrial supplies distributor W.W. Grainger acquired a British company, Cromwell, that will help scale its online offerings in Europe,
05 Aug 2015
XPO Logistics raised its 2019 revenue target to $23 billion, more than triple its $9 billion revenue run rate in mid-2015. A "two-pronged" pipeline of potential acquisitions in North America and Europe will help XPO meet that goal, CEO Bradley S. Jacobs said.
CMA CGM Mozart in Hamburg port
04 Aug 2015
U.S. containerized ocean trade via European ports, including transshipment cargoes, increased 3.5 percent year-over-year to 4.7 million 20-foot-equivalent units in the 12 months ending in March, according to PIERS, a sister product of The Journal of Commerce within IHS Maritime & Trade. While U.S. exports tumbled 4.6 percent to just more than 1.9 million TEUs, U.S. imports, comprising 59.3 percent of the trade, jumped 9.9 percent to nearly 2.8 million TEUs.
04 Aug 2015
The value of major global transportation acquisitions jumped 50 percent in the second quarter and rose 16 percent from the first quarter, as trucking and logistics firms reached across borders to buy their way into new markets and expand services.
04 Aug 2015
At a time when east-west container shipping trades are being pummeled by what Drewry Maritime Research calls a toxic mix of overcapacity, weak demand and aggressive pricing, the trans-Atlantic is standing out as a lone, and surprising, stalwart.
13 Jun 2015
The worldwide rally in containership charter rates may have lost most of its steam, but not for those with the right ships in the right regions, which right now would be the Atlantic.
10 Jun 2015
Cargo theft more than doubled in the United Kingdom in the first quarter and rose 17 percent in the Netherlands, Europe's biggest container hub, according to data released by the Transported Asset Protection Association. The problem, however, is global.
05 Feb 2015
U.S. trade moving on container ships directly via European ports, including transshipments, increased 2.1 percent year-over-year to 4.6 million 20-foot-equivalent units in the 12 months ending September 2014, according to PIERS, the data division of JOC Group.
Maersk in Rotterdam
02 Feb 2015
When the Maersk Kotka called at Charleston and Savannah on Jan. 30 and 31 on a Europe-U.S. Gulf-Mexico-U.S. South Atlantic rotation, there was nothing unusual about the service, but for one big thing: It marked the first call at those ports by a ship on the revamped trans-Atlantic TA3 service jointly operated by Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co. in the new 2M Alliance.
06 Jan 2015
Irish steak is back on the U.S. menu as the U.S. begins to lift a 15-year ban on beef imports from the European Union. U.S. containerized beef imports are rising quickly, surpassing 40 percent in most of 2014.
Weekly wrap-up for Aug. 30, 2014
30 Aug 2014
Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with grain handlers in the Pacific Northwest, ending a two-year battle between the two parties.
Clasped hands: EU, Canada
15 Aug 2014
Executives at Canada’s two main east coast container ports of Montreal and Halifax say a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union will boost their volumes.
Bremerhaven
06 Aug 2014
The U.S. ocean container trade via European ports, including transshipments, increased 3.8 percent year-over-year to 4.6 million laden 20-foot-equivalent units in the 12 months ending March 2014, according to PIERS, the data division of JOC Group.
Port of Hamburg
04 Aug 2014
Consider the trans-Atlantic market an oasis of calm. For a container shipping industry focusing on the opportunities and pitfalls in the much larger Asia-Europe and trans-Pacific trades, or the rapidly growing north-south trade linking Asia to Africa and Latin America, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Containerized U.S. imports rose 6.9 percent year-over-year in June.
28 Jul 2014
U.S. containerized imports in June showed substantial year-over-year growth, as labor negotiations on the West Coast seem to have induced an early ocean container shipping peak season.
09 Jul 2014
Trade between northern Europe and North America fell in May, but carriers are making moves to keep their utilization rates over 90 percent on both eastbound and westbound routes, Drewry says.
Ocean carrier rate revision roundup for July 4
04 Jul 2014
Several container lines have planned general rate increases in multiple trade routes to take effect Aug. 1...
17 Jun 2014
LONDON — Europe’s major ocean carriers, ports and shippers are urgently rethinking their business strategies following th
04 Jun 2014
Maersk Line said it intends to raise rates on shipments between the Mediterranean and North America, beginning July 1.
15 May 2014
Zim is teaming up with Hapag-Lloyd on the U.S.-Mediterranean route to increase port coverage and reduce transit times, in the Israeli ocean carrier’s second agreement with a member of the G6 Alliance in the past week.
01 May 2014
A temporary space shortage on the trans-Atlantic is looming thanks to implementation of the G6 Alliance in that trade lane.
Wine imports constitute the largest U.S. import commodity by volume from the Mediterranean and southern Europe.
21 Apr 2014
Container ships are running full on the westbound trans-Atlantic as shippers scramble to complete their annual contract negotiations with carriers at a time when the new P3 Network and other expanding alliances have not yet finalized their new service schedules.
The Fortunagracht, which is being employed on the Cleveland-Europe Express.
17 Apr 2014
Interest in a container and breakbulk service between Cleveland and North Europe launching this month has been fueled by erratic service at U.S. East Coast ports and unreliable service via surface transportation, according to users of the service.
DHL Boeing 757
14 Mar 2014
The world’s largest transportation and logistics company is getting larger as demand for e-commerce, time definite international express delivery and supply chain services drives up revenue and profit at Deutsche Post DHL.
From left: Walter Kemmsies, Moffatt & Nichol; Mario Moreno, JOC Group Inc.; Neil Dekker, Drewry.
04 Mar 2014
Container lines will continue to face challenging times in 2014 and 2015, but if they do not order a slew of new container ships over the next two years, the supply-demand economics in the major trade lanes will be brighter by 2016, according to an industry analyst.
03 Mar 2014
Kuehne+Nagel’s operating earnings soared 20 percent in 2013 driven by market-beating growth in air freight volumes, almost doubled contract logistics profit and increased market share on the transpacific and transatlantic container trades.
Thumbnail of P3 infographic
28 Oct 2013
The three container lines partnering on the proposed P3 Network last week released details of their proposed alliance to serve the major east-west trades.

Commentary

As cargo delays at the Port of New York and New Jersey enter their third month, customers are wondering: When will this end? Terminal operators say they expect things to settle down soon after Labor Day. That’s small comfort to port users dreading another month of expensive delays.