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Learn about what's coming in 2024!

The global freight landscape is ever-changing, with several recent developments making headlines regarding rates and services. As a seasoned logistics partner, Coppersmith is here to help you decipher these trends, ensuring you stay informed and make savvy shipping decisions.

1. Container Ship Freight Rates – Asia to Europe:

Freight rates, especially on the Asia-North Europe route, have recently declined. There’s hope for recovery as these rates show signs of stabilization, but Asia-Mediterranean rates remain consistent, and the Transpacific route rates slightly decreased. Shippers must know these rate fluctuations to strategize their shipping plans efficiently. While understanding the rates and the global reasons behind the fluctuations is important, services are likely to be impacted by the instability as carriers blank sailings, reduce journey frequency, or swap trade lanes to more lucrative destinations. 

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The intricate dance of global shipping is being interrupted, not by bustling activity, but by an increasing number of idle ships. For the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, idle containership capacity has surpassed the one million TEU mark—such a development points to the tangible challenges looming large over the container shipping industry.

Representing 4.3% of the global containership fleet, this idle capacity is the highest observed since February 2022. The trend isn’t arbitrary, as a confluence of factors pushes carriers to this decision:

  • Weakening Demand: The ongoing global economic slowdown has diminished the demand for container shipping.

  • Excess Capacity: Despite the palpable demand downturn, carriers have shown unabated enthusiasm in ordering new ships, leading to an oversupply.

  • Fuel Costs on the Rise: Operating these ships has become pricier with unstable fuel prices, prompting carriers to rethink their active fleet.
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Specialty air cargo is trending upward after a brief bounce from peak season helped rates to being stabilizing, but the traditional core shipments the industry depends upon are still trending downward. With pharmeceuticals steady at no change, perishables are up 4% and general cargo down 12%. Analysts are unsure if this is sustainable.

Learn more at the Loadstar

In news that should surprise absolutely no one, the lion's share of the cargo from Asia is moving back to the west coast. After the pandemic drove up the ship queues in LA/LB to over 100 ships, many suppliers found a faster route through the east coast. However, few ports are capable of moving the numbers like the west coast can. Slowly, cargo is filtering back to Cali.

Learn more at Freightwaves
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