Industry News

Freight Rate Update: December 2020

Ronald Vincent | M.E. Dey & Co.

Air Freight –  We did see air freight rates from both Asia and Europe increase throughout November and we expect them to remain at higher levels through the first 3 weeks of December. 

We continue to move air freight shipments daily. In most cases, we need to make bookings 3-7 days in advance.

Please contact us with shipment details. We can then provide standard options/pricing as well as propose creative solutions that may meet your service requirements while also reducing additional costs.


Trans Atlantic Westbound (import)


  • Import volumes from Europe remain stable. Space is a bit tight, but generally, we have not seen major delays or equipment shortages.


Trans Atlantic Eastbound (export)


  • Rates remain stable. Equipment availability is spotty in some areas. We are seeing some delays at both coasts due to rail and coastal port congestion.
  • We encourage customers to book at least a week in advance.


Trans Pacific Westbound (export)


  • We have seen slight rate increases on some lanes, but overall rates are stable.
  • We are seeing some delays at both coasts due to rail and coastal port congestion.
  • We encourage customers to book at least a week in advance.


Trans Pacific Eastbound (import)


In November many GRIs were canceled are were reduced significantly after implementation. So we did not see a big spike in base ocean freight rates.

However, steamship lines seemed to get into a surcharge frenzy. They tried to implement a number of surcharges ranging from expediting surcharges to congestion surcharges.

In my opinion, the steamship lines have played a significant role in creating the current congestion by first canceling sailings earlier in the year and now adding extra vessels to try and keep pace with the pent up demand. Now they want to charge a congestion surcharge for a situation they helped create.

Space and equipment is incredibly tight from most origins in Asia. 40’ high cube equipment is especially in short supply while there is an ample supply of 20’ containers at most origins. This is causing some customers to ship 2 x 20’ containers in place of a 40’ or 40’HC.

We continue to see delays with berthing, discharging of containers, and movement to the rail at west coast ports and we expect this to continue through Chinese New Year in February 2021. We are also seeing more vessels depart 2-3 days late from origin. This appears to be due to congestion at U.S. destination ports.

In past years we would expect rates to drop in December and capacity to open up. With the extraordinary economic and health environment we find ourselves in this year, it does not appear at this moment that we will see this happen. Some carriers have already announced a GRI to take effect on December 1st. The GRI amounts range from $ 1000 – $ 1200 per 40’ container.

We continue to monitor capacity and port congestion levels to adjust routings for the best possible service.

M.E. Dey and Co. monitors the market daily to find competitive rates that pair well with exceptional transportation services. We provide fixed rate contracts in addition to standard market rates. Contact us to talk with a representative or request a quote to get started.