In Focus: A market outlook

Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag Lloyd, anticipates an early peak season, taking into account low stock levels and considering that importers are expected to advance their purchase orders due to extended transit times along the Asia route. Despite this, overall demand remains low.

The continuous rate decline has now halted on the Asia-Europe route. Carriers are attempting to implement General Rate Increases (GRI) for April rates, even as new ship deliveries increase capacity for the month. Carriers have announced more blank sailings to balance demand and supply.

On the Transpacific trade, the market remains dynamic, as rates are gradually decreasing. This has prompted carriers to reinstate services, particularly on the Asia/North America East Coast (NAEC) trade route.

Port congestion is increasing in Asia, primarily due to berthing delays in Ningbo, Shanghai, Singapore, Port Klang, and Busan.

  • April GRIs have been announced by carriers in the ocean market. 
    • Negotiations for quarterly deals have been impacted by the GRI announcement, complicating the finalisation of discussions at the anticipated rate.
    • Space is stable in April and vessel utilisation is not full at the moment.


Central China to Europe

  • From SHA to Europe, the market has normalised this week and rates have decreased.
  • From NGB to Europe, rates have decreased this week and final rates depend on a case-by-case basis. 
    • We suggest booking space 4-5 days prior to the cargo ready date.  


North China to Europe

  • Rates from Korean Airlines from TSN to Europe are high and fluctuating. Asiana Airlines are confirming rates on a case-by-case basis. 
    • The market is busier compared to last week.
  • On DLC/PEK to Europe, rates with most airlines are increasing this week. 
    • To secure space, book a week in advance. 
  • The market is stable this week from TAO to Europe and space is not as tight. Estimated Time of Departure is 3-4 days after booking. 
    • Rates have remained the same as last week and spot rates can be applied for dense cargo. 


South China to Europe

  • From CAN to Europe, the market is stable but there may be a rate increase next week. 
  • From SZX to Europe, the market is busy and carriers have increased their rates.
  • From XMN to Europe, final rates will need to be checked on a case-by-case basis. 

Central China to USA

  • From SHA to the USA, space and rates are stable this week, although there have been some cancelled flights to Chicago O’Hare International airport.
  • From NGB to the USA, rates have decreased this week and the market is stable. 
    • Final rates depend on a case-by-case basis.

North China to USA

  • Rates from Korean Airlines from TSN to the USA have increased and are fluctuating. 
    • Asiana Airlines are confirming rates on a case-by-case basis. 
    • Market is tight compared to last week. 
  • On DLC/PEK to the USA, rates with most airlines have increased this week. 
    • Dense cargo can be booked with spot rates.
    • Space needs to be booked 10 days in advance.  
  • The market from TAO to the US is stable this week. 
    • Space is still tight and air freight rates remain similar to last week. 


South China to USA

  • From CAN to the USA, the market is stable but airlines may increase rates next week. 
  • From SZX to the USA, the market is recovering and carriers have increased rates this week. 
  • From XMN to the USA, rates remain stable and final rates depend on a case-by-case basis.
  • Remains remain stable, but carriers are looking to introduce GRIs in May.
    • Space and equipment is stable, however there are some issues at certain inland depots in the south of Germany.


  • Here is the most recent port update from the US: 
    • The Ports of LA and Long Beach have 4 vessels waiting to berth.
      • There is a 0 day wait to berth with a 9 day dwell on the rail terminals. 
    • Oakland has 1 vessel waiting with a 6 day dwell on rail.
    • New York/ New Jersey has 1 vessel waiting to berth with a 4 day dwell on the rail.
    • Savannah has 5 vessels waiting with a 2 day dwell on rail. 
  • Recently, the Maersk operated containership, DALI, struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.
    • The port is now closed for the foreseeable future, with demolition work well under way. The only route to port was under the bridge.
    • Baltimore Port handled 4.5% of the total containers for main East Coast ports in 2023. 
    • The closure will not have a significant impact as there is sufficient handling capacity at neighbouring ports such as Norfolk and New York.
    • Cargo is currently being diverted to those ports.


  • Here is an update from Hapag-Lloyd on ports in the Benelux region:
    • Antwerp, Belgium
      • PSA 913: Yard has been fully repaired after damage from last year’s accident from a collapsed crane. 
        • Yard utilisation remains at 75-80%, with reefers at 45-50%.
      • PSA 869: Yard utilisation is at 65-70%, with reefers at 35-40%.
      • AGW: Antwerp Gateways yard utilisation remains at 60-65%. Reefer plugs are at 50-55%.
  • Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    • ECT: Yard utilisation is at 60-65%.
    • RWG: Yard utilisation is at 70-75% and the berth line-up is high. 
United Kingdom


  • UK commercial vehicle (CV) production almost doubled in February, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
    • 12,927 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches were produced and driven by overseas demand rather than domestic demand. 
    • Exports increased by 188.0% to 10,011 units, representing 77.4% of all CVs made in the month, with 97.6% headed for the EU. 
    • On the other hand, domestic demand decreased for the second month in a row, declining by 4.0% to 2,916 units.


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.

April 10 – Spain*, 

April 23 – Spain*

April 25 – Italy, Portugal

April 27 – Netherlands, Slovenia

May 1 – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Polan, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden

May 2 – Romania*, Slovenia, Spain*

May 3 – Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Romania

May 4 – Austria*, Bulgaria, Cyprus*, Latvia

May 5 – Bulgaria, Cyprus*, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands*, Romania

*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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