Freight Rate Update: January 2022
Air Freight – Space is at a premium in the run-up to the Chinese New Year. This has pushed air freight rates higher and we expect this to continue through mid-February.
Rail & Truck – Rail delays from both the U.S. east and west coast have been reduced. The same is true for cargo from Prince Rupert. Vancouver is a sore spot at the moment due to weather challenges. Roads are still being repaired from the flooding in 2021 and now there have been significant snowstorms that have affected port and rail operations. The longer delays we are seeing are generally due to containers being put into a ‘non-working area’ by the terminals.
U.S. East Coast – Import: Space has loosened just a bit from Europe, but be prepared to book at least 2 weeks in advance. Rates continue to rise gradually depending on lanes. Many steamship lines are still not accepting bookings to inland points.
U.S. East Coast – Export: Export rates are mostly stable. Space and equipment are in a bit better shape, but we recommend booking at least 2-3 weeks in advance.
U.S. & Canada West Coast – Import: Space is extremely tight due to the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday. Many carriers are booked through the end of February.
Accordingly, rates have increased significantly in the past 10 days as demand is outstripping available space. We expect rates to remain inflated into March. After March, customer demand will continue to be the main driver of rates and space. It will be interesting to see if demand remains strong or starts to wane. Most industry feeds are predicting strong demand throughout 2022.
We continue to see congestion at West Coast ports, particularly L.A. and Long Beach. As mentioned above, Prince Rupert is working well and Vancouver has been a problem spot. Seattle/Tacoma have also seen significant berthing delays and overcrowding of vessels. Oakland port is making a push to establish additional space for empties to allow faster throughput of containers which they hope will entice steamship lines to reintroduce services via Oakland.
Overall, the killer is the continued congestion of vessels at the LA/Long Beach ports. The berthing delays continue to disrupt vessel rotations. With vessels stuck outside the ports, they cannot return to Asia on time for their next scheduled sailing and round and round we go.
U.S. West Coast – Export: We continue to see gate capacity restrictions and limited rail reservations available at inland points such as Chicago. Carriers are accepting bookings from inland ramps but not in the volume needed in the market. With limited space/bookings available we are having to book on average about 4 weeks in advance.
U.S. Midwest – Inbound & Outbound: Chicago rail delays have eased a bit and generally chassis availability has improved.
Trucking capacity has improved gradually as well. However, with only 48 hours of free time at the rail ramp storage is being incurred on many containers.
We are working with our customers to trans-load cargo using less congested routes. We also offer air freight services, which in some cases may be more attractive than ground. For more information, please contact Ronald Vincent, our Director of Logistics.
We are continuing to monitor all lanes, ports, and services to provide you with the best possible service at the best possible price.