Will weak demand and new tonnage decline rates further?

Despite signs of rate growth, declining rates are expected due to weak demand in the three major ocean trades and an expected flood of new tonnage. 

According to reports, ONE has announced that demand in Q1 2023 has been significantly weaker compared to the previous two years’ first calendar quarters and that they are not expecting signs of recovery until June or July. 

And, although spot rates are stabilising, as we spoke about in last week’s market update, contract terms are still under negotiations as shippers continue to sit on the fence about locking in long term. 

Are you unsure about whether to sign long term contracts or still play on the spot market?

Book in a 1:1 rates consultation with us here.



  • It has been reported that Chinese companies are now relocating parts of their supply chains from China to other countries. 
    • Companies are shifting to India and other Asian nations such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Mexico and other European countries have also benefited. 
    • A combination of geo-political risks and rising costs have pushed Chinese manufacturers to look for alternatives. 


  • Freight rates are rising in the US as shipping lines are managing supply and demand more stringently ahead of a busy importing season.
    • The average spot market price to ship a 40ft container from Asia to the US West Coast has increased by 34% over the past two weeks, according to Xeneta. 
    • As many shippers have been delaying signing long term contracts, the increase in spot rates may be putting pressure on importers to lock into contracts. 
    • If you’re unsure about your rate strategy at the moment, book our 1:1 bespoke rate strategy consultations to find out more




  • Here are some of Hapag’s Lloyd’s most recent updates from Europe:
    • At the Port of Antwerp, PSA, yard utilisation at 913 is between 75% – 80%. Due to ongoing bollards works at 913, there is slightly reduced berth capacity.
      • Yard 869 is at an operational level of 75% – 80%. 869 also has reduced yard capacity and berth capacity due to ongoing construction work
      • Empty storage area on both terminals is between 50% – 55%. 
    • At the AGW terminal, yard level is at 65% – 70%. 
      • Reefer plug capacity is at 55% – 60% and empty storage ranges between 35% – 40%. 
      • The terminal has received 3 new gantry cranes which are currently undergoing testing and will be available for full operations during the summer. 
    • At the Port of Rotterdam, Europe Container Terminals, the yard utilisation is currently between 70-75% but is predicted to decrease to 55-66%. 
      • Reefer plug utilisation is at 75% – 80%. 
      • There are two days of planned pier works for next week. Works will see 1
      • However, there will be minimal operational impact expected. 
    • Updates on the Rotterdam World Gateway include:
      • Yard levels are averaging between 60% – 65%. 
      • Import dwell times are at a good level and reefer plug utilisation is between 50% – 55%. 


  • The Port of Aberdeen has invested £55 million to become the UK’s first net zero port.
    • The port is committed to spending £55 million over the next 10 years to become the UK’s first net zero port by 2040.
    • They will be targeting net zero emissions from vessels visiting the port (scope 3) to Scope 1 and 2 in its own port operations. 
    • To monitor its emissions, the port will compare them to a 2019 baseline, encompassing 55,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emitted across all three scopes, including scope 1, 2, and 3. 97% of the emissions were generated by 9,500 vessel arrivals, which were accounted for in Scope 3.


  • UK haulage spending has dropped by 4% as fuel spending has increased by 35%.
    • The data was taken from digital payment solutions provider, takepayments.
    • The fall in spending to fuel price rises as well as the HGV driver shortage were all linked to decrease in spend. 
    • The company also noted that there was a 17% drop in new car sales which means that haulage businesses are making spending cuts in reaction to the economic challenges.

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 2 – Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain*, Transdniestria (PMR)

May 3 – Poland

May 4 – Austria*, Latvia

May 5 – Denmark, Faroe Islands, Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat), Latvia, Netherlands*

May 6 – Bulgaria, Russia

May 7 – Lithuania, Russia

May 8 – Belarus, Belgium*, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Gibraltar, Guernsey and Alderney, Isle of Man, Jersey, Moldova, Russia, Saint Helena, Slovakia, Transdniestria (PMR), UK (United Kingdom)

May 9 – Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH)*, Guernsey and Alderney, Jersey, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Moldova, Russia, Transdniestria (PMR)

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*

*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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