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Welcome to the Zencargo weekly freight market update – the latest news from our freight and procurement teams on the real experience of shippers.
This week: New Covid wave in China creates disruption at ports and services


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In focus: New Covid wave in China creates disruption at ports and services

Ningbo-Zhoushan, China’s second busiest container port is still open for business as Ningbo battles another wave of COVID-19 infections.

Although the port is functioning, trucking services have slowed down as people working in the port or going to the port must produce a negative COVID-19 test.

Forwarders are anticipating delays and have already shifted volumes to the ports of Shanghai which are already congested. This is to avoid any delays despite unaffected carrier schedules at Ningbo.

With less than a month to go before the Winter Olympics begin in Beijing, the government is remaining firm with their zero-COVID-19 policy and is desperately containing the latest outbreak.

Businesses should communicate with their freight forwarding partner to assess whether their goods have been affected by the latest port developments in China and to plan alternatives in the case of future disruptions.


Asia → North America (Transpacific Eastbound)


  • According to the Freightos Baltic Index, rates from China to the USA have decreased this week. 
    • From Asia to the West Coast, rates have decreased by 3% to $13,633 per 40ft.
    • Rates have increased by 1% to $16,705 per 40ft container from Asia to the East Coast.


  • US hauliers fear that the empty container dwell fee at the Port of Los Angeles will see shipping lines delay the return of boxes to the port. 
    • The port has announced that charges on long-dwelling empty containers would be imposed from 30th January. 
    • There are concerns that this could prompt ocean liners to adopt a more restrictive stance on accepting empty boxes. 
    • Starting from 30th January, the port of LA intends to levy charges of $100 for every empty container on the premises for nine days or more. This fee will increase by $100 increments every day until the container leaves the port. 
  • The Port of Oakland is intending to facilitate agriculture exports as it pushes for more Transpacific sailings. 
    • It intends to set up a dedicated container yard for this traffic with support from federal and state agencies to ease flows through the port. 
    • Last year, Oakland’s agriculture exports were affected by lack of vessel capacity. Transpacific services were suspended and congestion at LA and Long Beach prompted carriers to skip scheduled calls at Oakland as soon as they discharged their containers. 
  • The White House has announced that US port authorities need to ensure that exports aren’t hindered amid the unprecedented supply chain delays.
    • The surge in imports at US maritime hubs has clogged up ports, restricting the flow of containers that are available to exporters.
    • This has affected exported goods, especially agricultural exports which have been left on docks as a consequence.


City Soonest Availability Date Important Note! Notice Required (Estimated)
Atlanta 1/12 Export Congestion / limited hazardous availability – chassis shortage 1.5 weeks
Baltimore 1/25 Chassis shortage 3 weeks
Birmingham 1/18 Export Congestion 2 weeks
Boston No current capacity issues, please send your dispatch
Buffalo No current capacity issues, please send your dispatch
Charleston 1/25 SPOT PRICING WILL APPLY 3 weeks
Charlotte 1/17 Chassis shortage 2 weeks
Chicago 1/17 SPOT PRICING MAY APPLY Export Congestion, chassis shortage 2 weeks
Cincinnati 1/10 Chassis shortage 1.5 weeks
Cleveland 1/13 Export Congestion 1.5 weeks
Columbus No current capacity issues, please send your dispatch
Dallas 1/18 2 weeks
Denver No current capacity issues, please send your dispatch Export Congestion
Detroit No current capacity issues, please send your dispatch Export Congestion
El Paso No current capacity issues, please send your dispatch
Houston 1/13 Local 1/27 Road SPOT PRICING MAY APPLY Export Congestion / Limited availability / Chassis + Triaxle shortage 1.5 weeks local/2.5 weeks road
Huntsville 1/13 1.5 weeks
Indianapolis 1/12 Export Congestion 1.5 weeks
Jacksonville 1/17 2 weeks
Kansas City 1/14 Export Congestion / very limited triaxles / chassis shortage 1.5 weeks
Laredo No current capacity issues, please send your dispatch
Los Angeles NOT ACCEPTING NEW ORDERS UNLESS ALREADY ESTABLISHED REOCCURING MOVES Limited reefer & hazardous availability Not accepting new orders
Louisville 1 /11 SPOT PRICING MAY APPLY Export Congestion, chassis shortage 1 weeks
Memphis 1/7 Export Congestion – EXTREMELY limited hazardous coverage, chassis shortage 1 weeks
Miami 1/21 SPOT PRICING WILL APPLY VERY limited availability out of SFCT, Limited haz availability 3 weeks
Minneapolis No current capacity issues, please send your dispatch
Mobile 1/14 SPOT PRICING MAY APPLY Equipment shortage and very limited avail for moves over 300 miles or OW loads 1.5 weeks
Nashville 1/12 Export Congestion, chassis shortage 1 week
New Orleans 1/20 SPOT PRICING MAY APPLY Very limited on triaxles/overweight, chassis shortage 2.5 weeks
Norfolk 1/27 SPOT PRICING MAY APPLY No current avail for NJ, NY, OH, WV or PA moves, limited NC chassis shortage 4 weeks
Oakland 1/14 Export Congestion, chassis shortage 1 week
Omaha 1/10 Very limited triaxles 1 week
Philadelphia 1/17 Limited availability for exports, chassis shortage 2 weeks
Phoenix No current capacity issues, please send your dispatch
Pittsburgh No current capacity issues, please send your dispatch
Portland 1/20 SPOT PRICING WILL APPLY Chassis shortage, Very limited truck availability 5 weeks
Saint Louis 1/11 Export Congestion – limited availability for triaxles, chassis shortage 1 weeks
Salt Lake City No current capacity issues, please send your dispatch
San Antonio 1/15 2 weeks
Savannah 1/20 SPOT PRICING WILL APPLY Export Congestion / very limited haz and triaxle availability, chassis shortage 2.5 weeks
Seattle/Tacoma 1/30 SPOT PRICING WILL APPLY Very Limited availability for exports and moves out of Tacoma ports, chassis shortage 4 weeks
Tampa No current capacity issues, please send your dispatch
Wilmington 1/14 2.5 weeks


Asia → Europe (Far East Westbound)


  • Rates have decreased from Asia to Europe.
    • From Asia to North Europe, rates have decreased by 1% to $14,269 per 40ft container.
    • Rates have decreased by 1% to $13,435 per 40ft container from Asia to the Mediterranean. 


  • A train derailment at DP World-Operated London Gateway has caused considerable disruption to port schedules.
    • The derailment has caused significant damage to the tracks.
    • Containers were stuck at inland railheads and now have to be moved by road. 
    • Despite this, the resumption of normal service was resolved a few days after the incident on 4th January. 
  • Pressure on UK borders is set to intensify next week as volumes begin to climb back amidst post-Brexit border policies introduced at the start of this year. 
    • Portsmouth International Port said that they were seeing high compliance from hauliers and freight volumes were starting to ‘build back up’. 
    • As volumes return to usual after the holiday season, this will give a clearer picture of how the new processes and systems would fare under normal pressure.



 Central China to USA and Europe

  • Flight crews are having to wait for COVID tests, or in some cases have tested positive. 
  • This has caused some flights to be cancelled to both the USA and Europe. 
  • Rates have decreased this week to both destinations. However, rates and space must be checked with the carrier on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Covid restrictions are still in place at PVG Airport.
    • Over 40% of cargo flights are cancelled
    • Terminals are at 50% in terms of labour resources
  • Bookings should also be made in advance and rates and space need to be checked with your carrier on a case-by-case basis. 

North China to USA and Europe

  • Rates have remained the same between TSN Airport to the USA and Europe. 
  • A Covid outbreak at TSN this week has affected customer factories, trucking companies, terminal yards and warehouses as they are running subject to local control policies. 
  • Rates from PEK Airport have remained the same to the USA and Europe. 
    • United Airlines has opened the lane to ORD airport.
    • As we are approaching Chinese New Year, the space is still tight and it is advisable to confirm rates and space 3-4 days in advance. 
  • Bookings should also be made in advance and rates and space need to be checked with your carrier on a case-by-case basis. 

South China to USA and Europe

  • The air rate has reduced significantly from CAN airport to Europe but has reduced slightly to the USA. 
  • At SZX Airport, rates for flights to the USA and Europe have decreased.
  • Rates have increased for the USA and Europe from XMN Airport. 
  • Bookings should also be made in advance and rates and space need to be checked with your carrier on a case-by-case basis.


  • The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released a list of 50 airports that will have 5G wireless buffer zones which will be introduced on 19th January.
    • This comes after concerns from aviation that the deployment of 5G mobile networks could affect flight safety.
    • US aviation groups have voiced concerns that the deployment of 5G mobile networks could result in delays to flights and cargo. 
    • The buffer zones therefore would help to reduce the risk of disruption as traffic volume, the number of low-visibility days and geographic location were factored into the process. 


  • Ostend-Burges International Airport in Belgium recorded a cargo throughput increase of 17.8% in 2021 to 62,056 tons. 
    • This is the best result since 2011.
    • Alongside the airport’s main carrier, Egypt Air, Qatar Airways carried out flights to Ostend. The airport has been included in the Qatar Airways route network since May. 
    • The airport served other temporary customers such as SilkyWay West Airline, Etihad Cargo, Mesk Air and Air Belgium. 
  • Boryspil International Airport achieved cargo throughput of 45,675 tons in 2021, a record for the last 4 years. 
    • The Ukrainian airport will begin construction of a new cargo terminal with capacity of 120,000 tons a year as the existing cargo terminal is at full capacity.

Road and Rail


From 1 January 2022, anyone moving goods between Great Britain (GB) and the European Union (EU) through a Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) border location must be registered to use this service. Current arrangements will continue to apply to goods moving from Ireland to GB while discussions on the Northern Ireland Protocol are continuing.

In order to cross the UK border without any delays and complications please make sure the following instructions are followed:

  1. Get a GMR for all movements, including empties and is the responsibility of the haulier.
  2. Vehicle Registration Numbers – Do not use the trailer references when entering your Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) into the GMR for an accompanied movement, as this means the carrier will be unable to validate your GMR. The VRN must match the vehicle presenting the GMR.
  3. MRN Numbers – Do not add EU export Movement Reference Numbers (MRN) numbers into the GMR.
  4. Declaration References – Ensure that you are entering the correct type of declaration reference which is relevant for your movement. For exports via CHIEF or CDS this is the DUCR; for imports via CDS this is the MRN and for imports via CHIEF this is the ERN. For full details around which declaration types should be entered in a GMR refer to Get a goods movement reference on GOV.UK.
  5. Declarants – Use the dual location code for all exports declarations from GB to EU – when moving through the border locations of Dover and Eurotunnel.
  6. Declarants – Ensure that RRS01 is included on your import or export declaration if your goods are being moved via a GVMS border location, otherwise the GMR will be invalid, and your goods will be delayed. Make sure the RRS01 code is entered at HEADER level.
  7. When an `INSPECTION NEEDED` message displayed please instruct the driver to attend an Inland Border Facility (IBF)

Upcoming Customs Changes from July 2022

From 1 July 2022, the goods listed below will become subject to additional checks. Firstly, there will be a document check to confirm that the goods have the right commercial documentation and certificates/licenses. Before goods depart, there will be a check on the seal applied to the consignment for identification purposes. On arrival, the following goods will be physically checked:

  • All meat products
  • All regulated plants and plant products
  • All remaining regulated animal by-products  
  • All remaining ‘high-risk’ food not of animal origin.

From the 1st of July 2022 goods listed above will no longer be checked at the destination place, they will be inspected at border control posts and control points.

From 1st September 2022, dairy products will also have the same checks as above when they are imported from the EU.

From 1st November 2022, checks on all animal origin products inclusive of by-products will be introduced. Live animal inspections will take place at border control posts, if there are no border inspection posts at the point of entry the inspections will be carried out at destination.

European Bank Holidays

We anticipate a shortage of availability and the occurrence of delays around the bank holiday periods. Plan ahead and allow extra time for your products to be delivered.

January 24th – RO

February 8th – SI

February 10th – ES*

February 15th – RS

February 16th – LT, RS

February 23rd – RU

February 24th – EE

February 28th – AD, ES

*Not in all regions

The route ahead

The information that is available in the Weekly Market Update comes from a variety of online sources, partners and our own teams. Click below to learn more about how Zencargo can help make your supply chain your competitive advantage.

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