Industry News

Freight Rate Update: October 2021


Air Freight – From Asia to the U.S. we are seeing rates continue to climb. The lack of ocean space and some new product launches by importers have increased the demand for air freight. Available space is still tightening but not as dramatic as the previous 2-3 months.

Ocean Freight – Rates from Europe have increased over the past 2 months, however, now seem to have peaked.  Space continues to be tight, but some carriers are now offering base rates valid through the end of the year.

Space out of China and Taiwan has loosened up a bit at the beginning of October. This seems to be the result of the rolling power outages the Chinese government has implemented. Due to the lack of power, manufacturing and production are severely limited in some regions. This is resulting in the cancellation of container bookings.

Rail & Truck – We are seeing rail delays on average of 10 days and in severe cases 20+ days for containers moving from the U.S. West Coast to the Midwest (see U.S. Midwest section). Truck space is also extremely limited.


U.S. East Coast – Import: Space remains very tight from Europe.  Rates seem to have stabilized with many steamship lines providing base rates valid through the end of the year.

U.S. East Coast – Export: Export rates are mostly stable but space and equipment are very tight. We recommend booking at least 3-4 weeks in advance.

U.S. & Canada West Coast – Import: Space has opened up a bit from China and Taiwan at the beginning of October. This is a result of rolling power outages implemented by the Chinese government.  The power outages are targeted at businesses with high power consumption. This is restricting manufacturing and production volumes to the point that ocean container bookings are being canceled by these companies. It is not certain how long this will last.

We continue to see congestion at west coast ports, particularly LA & Long Beach. Prince Rupert and Vancouver have not been as congested and containers are generally moving on to the rail within 5-7 days.

U.S. West Coast – Export: We continue to see gate capacity restrictions and limited rail reservations available at inland points such as Chicago. Vessel space has loosened up a bit. The bigger issue is getting containers on the rail from inland ramps

U.S. Midwest – Inbound & Outbound: Chicago rail and terminal delays are at an all-time high. There are continued chassis shortages and extreme congestion. All Chicago rail terminals have limited daily allocations and in-gate reservations for empty returns and export containers. More steamship lines are restricting the amount of cargo they’ll accept. In some cases, they will give preference to bookings to coastal ports or implement destination surcharges ranging from $1k-$5k per container. This is a very fluid situation and we are continuing to monitor new developments and surcharges.

For most containers being delivered from Chicago rail ramps, storage fees are being incurred on almost all deliveries due to a lack of truck capacity. The Chicago rail yards provide only 48 hours of free time once the container arrives. This includes the day of arrival.

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.

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.