Challenges In Asia-Europe Ocean Trades Resemble Pandemic Peaks


Forwarders and logistics experts are issuing stark warnings as demand in Asia-Europe ocean trades intensifies, reminiscent of the peak experienced during the pandemic. Key players in the industry are grappling with unprecedented challenges, from skyrocketing freight rates to capacity shortages and container price hikes.

Surging Demand and Capacity Constraints

  • Demand on Asia-Europe routes is surging, with forwarders witnessing remarkable year-on-year growth across customer bases.
  • Container lines are struggling to keep pace, resulting in jettisoned rate quotes and reduced contract capacity.
  • The onset of the traditional peak season coupled with extended transits around the Cape of Good Hope exacerbates the strain, leaving importers in a precarious position.

Rising Freight Rates and Operational Challenges

  • Container carriers are swiftly implementing peak season surcharges and general rate increases (GRIs) on both short- and long-term contracts.
  • Short- and long-term rate levels are diverging significantly, reminiscent of rate developments during the pandemic.
  • Carriers are prioritizing higher revenue cargo, aiming to mitigate financial challenges experienced in previous quarters.

Container Shortages and Economic Implications

  • Shortages of containers further compound the crisis, with prices continuously climbing amid uncertainties in the Red Sea and logistical challenges.
  • Container diversions around the Cape of Good Hope and stranded containers in network locations exacerbate supply chain disruptions.
  • Economic feasibility issues hinder the movement of containers, with high transportation costs and storage considerations contributing to the dilemma.

While the current situation poses significant challenges for the Asia-Europe ocean trades, experts anticipate a rapid decline in demand after the October Chinese Golden Week. However, until then, the industry braces for continued turbulence, emphasizing the need for adaptive strategies and resilient supply chain management.

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Source: The Loadstar