Competitive Edge

September 20th, 2023

IMPORT: Asia to North America (TPEB)

Recent Developments:

  • Golden Week begins October 1. A pre-holiday demand surge appears minimal, however schedule reliability remains a concern given occurrences of blank sailings.
  • Both East and West coast ports recorded 20 percent (plus) year-over-year declines in transpacific imports for the first eight months of 2023.

Rates: Rates are steady, but above pre-pandemic levels and average contracts.
Space: Space is generally open, but certain services have seen tightening.
Capacity: Carriers remain reducing capacity with blank sailings.
Equipment: A new chassis pool at Southeast ports (excluding Charleston) will go live October 1.

  • Hold your logistics partners accountable for frequent updates regarding blank sailings, rate increases, or any other forms of carrier maintenance.
  • Establish a firm timeline for future import activity.

IMPORT: Europe to North America (TAWB)

Rates: Rates mirror pre-pandemic levels.
Space: Space is open, except for a few pockets.
Capacity: Major carriers are reallocating TAWB vessel capacity to the Asia-Europe trade.
Equipment: Availability on both origin and destination sides, unless advised otherwise.

  • Book at least three weeks prior to the ready date.
  • It’s unclear yet how carriers will react to this trade’s softened state, but be on the lookout for certain tactics, like blank sailings or rate increases, from them as a means to reduce lossmaking.

EXPORT: North America to Asia

Recent Developments:

  • Increased competition from other exporting countries, like Brazil, have made it more difficult for American farmers to reach overseas markets.
  • The U.S. harvest season could see adverse impacts as low water levels on the Mississippi River hinder barge movement, a popular mode for agriculture exports.

Rates: Rates have increased at a sharp clip.   
Capacity: Schedule reliability is currently erratic.
Equipment: Availability at virtually all inland points and seaports. However, chassis access remains a wildcard against fluid intermodal movement.

  • Insufficient communication with erratic sailing schedules can lead to higher detention and demurrage fees as well as higher trucking and storage costs. Ensure your logistics partners are not keeping you and your cargo in the dark.

Watch Our September Webinar!

Topics: U.S. – Vietnam trade relations, loan interest rates, and the future outlook/buying patterns.

Sign Up For Our October Webinar!

Our next webinar is on Wednesday, October 18th, at 10am CST!

Keep an eye out in the coming weeks when we announce the topics for October!

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What is Coffee & Cargo? Every month, our experts sit down to discuss what’s currently happening in the shipping industry. Every so often we are joined by special guests, who share their specific expertise and experiences.

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Freight News

Europe Gas Price Outlook, Start of Heating Season in Europe Soon Begins

October typically marks the start of heating season in Europe, but with inventories nearly 100 percent full, it has created less options to store fuel arriving by pipeline or on tankers.  

Additionally,  with above-normal temperatures that are expected to last through October, a ‘late start’ to winter could inflame the falling of gas prices.

“Prices could still fall significantly over the next few weeks,” Anthony Yuen, a strategist at Citigroup Inc said.

Forecasts for this winter in Europe show it to be warmer and wetter than the average winter. While the rest of the month and into October show forecasts pointing to warmth in Europe, with the east seeing the highest temperature anomalies, data from Atmospheric G2 meteorologist Amy Hodgson says.

Vessel Capacity is Weakening as Golden Week Apporaches

China’s Golden Week – a week long public holiday – is less than two weeks away and according to some data, vessel capacity is weakening as we lead up to it.

Furthermore, the pre-Golden Week rush that typically occurs around this time for U.S. importers, is turning out to be relatively muted with rates continuing to fall.

Leading up to Golden Week, “container volumes are weakening, and load factors are falling despite a higher number of blank sailings… the number of actual sailings over the next five weeks, after taking into account the cancelations, is the lowest since February,” Jefferies investment firm said in a weekly report.

Some ocean carriers are increasing their October blank sailings (see the Blank Sailing chart above for more information), after they have been easing blank sailings for September.

Did You Know: U.S. Manufacturing Rates See Slight Growth in August

In the month of August, August production levels decreased by 0.6 percent year-on-year, while U.S. manufacturing output increase just slightly at 0.1 percent in August.

However – when excluding the automotive industry, factory outputs throughout the U.S. increased in August by 0.6 percent.

Source: Supply Chain Brain

Blogs of the Week

Interlog Insights

In week two of our September insights, we discussed wind-powered technology in the shipping realm as the industry looks to decarbonize.

As well as consumer confidence levels, August shopping habits, and September forecasts. 

FreightFM - EP11 - YT Thumbnail

A Podcast by InterlogUSA: NEW FreightFM Episode 11

Check out episode 11 – In the News: August Rates, Yellow Corp Bankruptcy, Panama Canal Congestion, and More!

InterlogUSA’s Rachel Thielen and Emily Smith discuss the latest industry news during the episode.

Listen Today!

FreightFM features short-form video interviews with InterlogUSA’s industry experts offering insights into breaking news, market trends, our company’s history, and more!

Browse Past Episodes

Linkedin promo 9-13-23

Last Week's Port Poll Winner: The Port of St. Louis,

Every other week we post a poll on our LinkedIn page (give us a follow if you feel inclined 😊 ), where you can vote on which port you would like to see featured in our deep dive this Friday!

Last Friday, the winner was the Port of St. Louis in Missouri. Click the link below to read the entire excerpt. 

Consider subscribing to our biweekly “Port of the Week!” newsletter to continue getting a closer look at various ports (and inland ports), globally and domestically.

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