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Freight Market Update - January 18, 2023



August 2023

8 min read


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Freight Market Update - January 18, 2023

From the Editor’s Desk


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 Key takeaways for the US

  • With the Lunar New Year fast approaching, TPEB rates are beginning to align.
  • Volume shift from North American West Coast to East Coast countries.
  • Cracks have emerged in China’s logistics infrastructure.
  • Upcoming Chinese New Year poses chances of trucking services coming to hold in the near future.
  • S. Government has released its National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonisation.

 Read on for more in-depth updates.

Ocean Freight Market Update

Asia to North America

U.S / CA 

Transpasific Rates Conditions

  • The Lunar New Year is approaching quickly and Transpacific Eastbound rates are beginning to level off.
  • The TPEB rates to the USEC and Gulf Coast are softening while the rates to the USWC are leveling off.
  • We can expect capacity tightening around this time due to a bulk of blank sailings during the Lunar New Year.
  • S. Vancouver continues to witness stable vessel dwell counts with very few berthing delays.
  • There are some notable rail congestions owing to the low TPEB demands in the West Coast port.
  • Higher volumes are being handled by the East Coast for what seems to be the first time in history. This is because the number dipped to below one in October 2022.
  • It was around 0.97 and then became 0.95 around the start of November. The other side of the country noticed West Coast volumes declining by 4.1% around the end of October.
  • China has revealed some cracks in its logistics infrastructure due to increased demand in the U.S. and Europe.
  • To combat this, China has announced a new plan for modernizing its logistics system for the long run.
  • It is a five-year plan for supply and demand adaptation with internal and external connectivity goals.
  • Furthermore, the country hopes to strengthen its service guarantee of modern logistics.
  • It has a view to improving the emergency response capacity and people’s overall livelihood.
  • At the end of the day, it is an attempt to keep China competitive and cope with higher peaks in demand and supply.
  • Trucking services may stop next week in China due to the approaching Chinese New Year. Carriers have reported completely booked spaces and spot rates available between January 24 to 29.
  • Urgent cargo needs to be booked at the earliest as space is highly restricted.
  • In terms of the air market, rates are fluctuating and are very tight this week. All workers are gearing up for their Chinese New Year holiday break and are working to complete tasks in advance.
  • The U.S. Government has released its National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonisation. This blueprint aims to provide a strategy to cut all greenhouse emissions for the transport sector.
  • We can expect this cut down to be achieved by 2050 for the entire transport sector.
  • The blueprint is prioritizing research and innovation for alternative fuels as well as engagement with international and domestic stakeholders.
  • There are some notable infrastructure investments and enhanced designs to utilize modern and unique technologies.


Rates: The rates remain soft and open. There are mostly origin-destination combinations at play.

Space: Space open, no issues with equipment. There are issues with capacity and equipment only in a few specific pockets.

Recommendation: We recommend blank sailings to continue. Book at least two weeks prior to the date your cargo gets ready. Keep in mind that the Chinese New Year holidays will begin soon so space and capacity are restricted.

Turkey to North America 

  • Both USEC and USWC ports have open spaces as congestion has consistently improved.
  • More capacity has entered the market and even more is expected to enter from Maersk and MSC.
  • Demand is dipping into negative territory and we can expect a continued downward trend for rates.
  • However, equipment availability is getting better and congestion is easing up in several zones and areas.
  • Port of Loading pickup needs to be prioritized for shipments if possible as many inland depots have low empty stacks. However, it is worth noting that this is getting better quite quickly.


Rates: Rates are continuing to drop in line with the low demand. Demand is dipping into negative territory and will keep decreasing in the upcoming months.

Space for capacity: No capacity issues and no constraints as congestion is clearing up quickly. Available space in USEC and USWC.

Space for equipment: Equipment availability is progressively getting better as the congestions ease up.

Recommendations: Book two or three weeks prior to your cargo ready date. You could also request premium services for higher reliability and no-roll. Keep the Chinese New Year holiday breaks in mind as operations might close early. 

North America to Turkey 

  • Demand and rates have picked up in some places and decreased in others due to the upcoming holidays. It might decrease a bit more from January 21 till the end of the month.
  • With COVID measures being lifted from China, we can expect some cross-border traffic gradually.
  • With high utilization levels and demand, book with as much advance as possible.


Rates: The floating market rates are not fluctuating rapidly. It can be expected to remain stable despite the downward trend.

Space for capacity: No capacity issues and space is manageable.

Space for equipment: The availability of standard equipment is not an issue for a majority of ports.

Terminal Updates

  • As of January 13, no vessels are waiting at the New York terminal.
  • The maximum vessel waiting time at various terminals has been reduced to just one day. Berth utilization is relaxed and import volumes are constant but at lower levels compared to the last few weeks.
  • One ship is at anchor at Charleston terminal. Sunday gates have been discontinued and berth windows are being accommodated in some areas.
  • Berth CB#1 at Savannah terminal is undergoing major reconstruction. It will be completed in June 2023.
  • The current on terminal CFS is moving upriver to a new location for warehousing.

 US Domestic Trucking Market Trends

  • OTRI has failed to rise above 6% during Christmas break.
  • This is the first time this has occurred in its history of five years.
  • There is a rapid demand erosion due to overstuffed inventories and eroding consumption.
  • The overstimulated goods economy is weakening transport markets.
  • At a minimum, these conditions may persist for the first half of 2023.
  • Carrier networks have low to zero disruption. The spot market will be filled with discounted freight and it might be the slowest time of the year for domestic trucking.

Final Thoughts

With the given updates, we can safely conclude that the market is faring well with a sufficient supply of equipment and capacity.

The holiday backlog and prolonged vessel waiting times have been resolved in various places. However, congestion and delays are continuing in several other places. It is best to choose ports carefully and ship them ahead of time.

Be aware of which ports and trucking systems are functioning due to the Chinese New Year. The holiday rush is at an all-time high as people are closing spaces for the break.

Choose the right areas and book sailings a few weeks prior to your shipment departure date. This is because Chinese New Year and holiday breaks are causing unexpected delays and inclement weather conditions may add to it.

We can expect a steady and consistent increase in the market owing to these trends. We are grateful that you perused our newsletter till the end. Be sure to subscribe to us and stay notified about the latest weekly market updates.

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