Supply chain pressures a major concern for business in 2023

Disruptions to supply chain was the top concern among more than half (54%) of respondents, in a survey of mid-sized businesses leaders in the UK 

Given the turmoil which has been rife in the industry over the past two years, such as the fluctuation in rates, falling schedule reliability and Brexit challenges, it may come as no surprise that supply chain is the chief concern among respondents for the first half of 2023. 

The survey carried out by BDO, an international accountancy and business advisory firm, surveyed over 500 medium-sized businesses. The sentiments revealed in the survey reflect similar studies which have painted an equally bleak outlook for the year ahead. In a poll conducted by Coupa, a global tech company, 82% of supply chain leaders anticipated that challenges will worsen or stay the same during the next 6 to 12 months. Among respondents the biggest concerns were uncertainty in consumer demand, lack of critical goods and unreliable transportation. 

If the year ahead is looking daunting for your supply chain or you are looking for mitigation strategies for the year ahead, contact us here.



  • Capacity levels following Chinese New Year remain high despite blank sailing programs 
    • In the 8 weeks following CNY, Sea Intelligence reported an annualised growth rate of 6.1%.
    • More specifically, the Asia-North America West Coast will be roughly 353,800 TEU per week, 221,700 TEU per week on Asia-North America East Coast, and 314,900 per week on average on Asia-North Europe. 
    • Sea Intelligence’s CEO, Alan Murphy has stated “it is very likely that the shipping lines will continue to blank sailings to keep capacity closer to pre-pandemic levels. However, it is also very likely that these decisions will be taken closer to departures, once again leaving shippers with very little time to plan proper contingencies.”.
  • Exports from Asia to the rest of the world slumped by 11.8% from August-October when compared to 2021 figures.
    • On a global level during the same period container volumes fell 7.9%.
    • This dip has been reflected in the rate market as prices have plummeted 


Central China to USA and Europe 

  • Rates have increased slightly  this week from SHA to Europe and the USA.
    • Last week some airlines cancelled flights from SHA to Europe due to a lack of cargo.
  • Rates have decreased this week from NGB to Europe and the USA. 
    • Some factories in the area have still not begun  operating again following Chinese New Year (CNY). 

North China to USA and Europe 

  • From TSN to Europe and the USA, rates have remained stable compared to last.
    • We recommend booking 3-4 days ahead of departure to secure space.
  • From PEK  to Europe and the USA, rates have remained stable compared to last. 
    • We recommend booking 3-4 days ahead of departure to secure space.
  • From TAO to Europe and the USA, rates have decreased.
  • From CKG to Europe, rates remain the same as most carriers have capacity for more cargo. Rates have risen slightly from CKG to the USA. 

South China to USA and Europe 

  • From  CAN to Europe and the USA rates have remained stable as the market cools following CNY. 
    • Some factories have not started operations again after CNY,  so space is available. 
  • From SZX to Europe and the USA, the market is stable and rates can be negotiated with carriers on a case-by-case basis. 
  • From XMN to Europe and the USA rates have remained the same compared to last week. 
    • From XMN to Europe some airlines have cancelled flights due to lack of cargo.


  • Imports into East Coast ports for December 2022 show growth over pre pandemic levels.
    • Compared with December 2019 import levels, the ports of  Virginia 21%, Savannah 26%,  and Charleston 28% all saw significant increases
    • The levels of imports to West Coast ports over the same period has dropped significantly as combined imports in Los Angeles and Long Beach were down 15%, Oakland was down 19% and Seattle/Tacoma 20%
    • Combined imports at the top 10 ports in the U.S. remained fairly stable in comparison to December in 2019 reporting a 0.4% growth in 2022.
  • Containerised imports from Europe to the US were up 2% year on year and up 13% compared with 2019 levels 
    • While imports from Europe fell in November versus October, they were still 21% higher than volumes in November 2019.
    • This strength in trade has contributed to the relative resilience of the rates on the transpacific trade lane where rates on other lanes have plummeted.


  • Rates between Europe and the US have continued to gradually weaken as carriers loof for volume.
    • This is partially attributed to extra capacity which was added to the trade lane in December and January.
    • Space is currently available and we recommended booking 2 weeks in advance. 
  • A new container line will connect Iceland with the Port of Gothenburg. 
    • The line will be operated by Samskip, a Dutch logistics company, with its first voyage taking place in April.


  • A proposed strike for several days in February has been announced by The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union which will impact Border Force operations. 
    • The strike is set to take place on the following days 17 February, 18 February, 19 February, 20 February (until 7am).
    • The strike action is expected to impact passengers and freight passing through the following ports Port of Calais, Port of Dunkirk, Coquelles Channel Tunnel Terminal.
  • The UK government has announced a £77 million investment competition for initiatives in clean maritime technology.
    • The competition for Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) is aimed at decarbonising the UK’s maritime sector 
    • Successful projects must show they could use this money to work with major UK ports and operators to launch a zero-emission vessel by 2025 at the latest.


  • The border force strike mentioned above is also expected to impact on haulier 
    • The government has issued a statement that drivers should expect delays at the impacted inland ports and border facilities

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.

February  6 – Ireland

February  8 – Slovenia

February 10 – Malta 

February 16 – Lithuania

February 20 – Luxembourg*

February 21 – Portugal*, Spain* 

February 28 – Spain

March 1 – Bosnia Herzegovina*, Spain *, Switzerland* 

March 3 – Belgium 

March 8 Belarus, Germany*, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine

*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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