Capacity increase on Asia – Europe

2M partners, Maersk and MSC, have announced they will deploy asn extra 9 vessels on their Asia – Europe services. With the rate market only recently showing signs of stabilisation, it remains to be seen what will unfold with this new injection of capacity. 

Some publications in the industry such as Loadstar have warned that in the current low demand environment, the introduction of new capacity “may unleash a ferocious race-to-the-bottom freight war on the trade lane.”

Following General Rate Increases (GRI)s announced by carriers in mid April, the Transpacific trade has also been experiencing rate erosion, with Xeneta data indicating an 8% reduction on FEU rates since the beginning of the month. 

It appears that rate drama and fluctuation is endless in the ocean market, leaving many shippers scratching their heads. Is it time to lock into long term rates? Should I diversify my strategy? What is happening with peak season this year? 

These are some of the questions we seek to answer at our upcoming virtual Navigate summit on the 22nd June. We will be joined by Anne Sophie Fribourg, Zencargo’s VP of Ocean Freight and Niels Madsen, VP of Product and Operations at Sea-Intelligence who will be assessing the rate market and sharing their insights during our session “The future of rates: Should you lock in long term?”. 

You can register for Navigate by following this link!



  • New customs data has shown China’s exports grew by 8.5% in April, despite slowing global demand. 
    • This represents a slower rate of growth seen in March where exports grew by 14.8%. 
    • Capital Economics, a consultancy firm, has stated that uptick in March may not have been an accurate reflection of exports “This suggests that global demand for Chinese goods remains weak and supports our view that the jump in March had more to do with distortions to the customs data rather than a genuine turnaround”.
  • In 2022, China retained its title as the world’s largest logistics market for 7th consecutive year.
    • China registered $2 trillion in revenue in 2022, marking a 4.7% growth compared to 2021.


Central China to USA and Europe 

  • From SHA to Europe and the US, rates have mostly remained stable.
  • From NGB to Europe rates have fallen  compared with last week,  while rates to the US have remained stable.
    • Final rate is offered on a case by case basis.

North China to USA and Europe 

  • From TSN to Europe and the US rates have decreased this week.
    • We recommend booking 3 -4 days prior to the cargo ready date for shipments to Europe.
    • For Europe, the main services on this lane include Air China, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines. Korean Air and Asiana Airlines can provide freight flights that can offer an earlier estimated time of departure and arrival. 
    • For the US,  the main services on this lane include Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Cathay Pacific. Korean Air and Asiana Airlines can provide freight flights that can offer an earlier estimated time of departure and arrival. 
  • From PEK  to Europe and the US rates have decreased this week.
    • Special rates can be applied to heavy dense cargo. Please check on a case-by-case basis. 
  • From TAO to Europe and the US rates  have remained stable this week. 
  • From CKG to Europe have remained stable, while rates to the US have increased slightly since last week. 

South China to USA and Europe 

  • From  CAN to Europe and the USA, rates have remained stable this week. 
    • Space availability has improved since last week. 
    • All shipments will need to be checked with the carrier for rates on a case-by-case basis. 
  • From SZX  to Europe and the US rates have remained stable.
    • All shipments will need to be checked with the carrier for rates on a case-by-case basis. 
  • From XMN to Europe and the US rates have remained stable.
    • All shipments will need to be checked with the carrier for rates on a case-by-case basis.


  • A new US bill, The Port Crane Security and Inspection Act of 2023, is aimed at addressing  concerns over China’s influence on port infrastructure.
    • The bill places restrictions on the use of cranes, requiring inspections of foreign cranes for potential security vulnerabilities before they are put into operation.
    • Currently, roughly 80% of cranes in operation at US ports are manufactured from China.
    • Chris Connor, President and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has strongly opposed the legislation, citing that security concerns over Chinese made cranes were”sensationalised”.
  • New data released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has revealed the extent of pressure on US port capacity during the pandemic.
    • On a global level ports experienced a 15% decrease in capacity during the pandemic era demand surge.
    • In the US, this rose to as high as 35% as rising demand, inadequate port infrastructure and congestion all contributed to putting pressure on capacity. 


  • The German government has approved the purchase of a minority stake in the Port of Hamburg by COSCO shipping, a Chinese state owned marine transportation group . 
    • COSCO has purchased a 24.9% stake in the port in a deal which was heavily scrutinised by the German government over concerns of foreign ownership over critical infrastructure. 
    • China is Germany’s biggest trading partner accounting for just under $320 billion (USD) of trade and the approval of this deal is expected to support the growth of China and Germany’s trade in the years ahead.


  • The construction of a Border Control Post (BCP) at Cairnryan which will check goods coming from the Republic of Ireland and wider EU via Northern Ireland has been stalled.
    • The post is part of the UK government infrastructure to begin post Brexit customs controls on EU goods later this year.
    • However,  a dispute between the Scottish and UK governments has forced construction to be halted. 


  • The UK government has announced a legislation change allowing longer semi trailers (LST) on UK roads.
    • The change in legislation follows an 11 year trial and permits longer semi-trailer combinations up to 18.55 metres on GB roads – 2.05 metres longer than standard size. 
    • The change is expected to bring a  £1.4 billion boost for the UK’s economy – supporting productivity and saving 70,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

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.

May 15 – Spain*

May 17 – Spain*

May 18 – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden

May 19 – Belgium*, Denmark*

May 24 – Bulgaria

May 27 – Sweden*

May 28 – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany*, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden

May 29 – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands

May 30 – Croatia, Spain*

May 31 – Spain*

June 1 – Romania

June 2 – Italy, Romania*

June 4 – Greece, Lithuania, Romania

June 5 – Cyprus, Denmark*, Greece, Ireland (Eire), Romania

June 6 – Sweden

June 7 – Malta

June 8 – Austria, Croatia, Germany*, Poland, Portugal, Spain*

June 9 – Spain*

June 10 – Portugal

June 13 – Portugal*, Spain*

*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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