Industry News

Freight Rate Update: September 2020

Ronald Vincent | M.E. Dey & Co.

Here is the latest update on current freight rates for both Import and Export cargo. M.E. Dey provides the best possible rates available to our clients by reviewing various carrier options. We will keep you advised and informed as trade updates are announced.

Air Freight Rates from Asia to the U.S. did decrease throughout August and space was not as tight as it was in previous months.  Air freight demand was down on most lanes relieving pressure on rates.

As we head into the fourth quarter we expect space to tighten and rates to increase again.  The upcoming Golden Week holiday in China and the end of year holidays in the U.S. we expect demand to increase.

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

Space from Europe is less of an issue and rates have stabilized.  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 have stabilized and space had tightened a bit.  Rates have remained steady and well below the highest rates we experienced in April, May, and June.


Trans Atlantic Eastbound (export)


  • Rates remain stable. Equipment availability has improved and we are not currently seeing any major delays. 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. Equipment availability has not been an issue. We encourage customers to book at least a week in advance.


Trans Pacific Eastbound (import)


The thought that rates peaked in July was obliterated by record-high rates in August and into September.  Rates are at least double what they were last year on most lanes.

The steamship lines have continued to successfully control capacity.  They have cautiously added sailings, but not enough to meet demand.

The additional sailings have created another issue, delays at destination.  At many west coast ports vessels are not able to berth in a timely fashion.  As vessels arrive with increased container volume it takes longer to unload and reload vessels.

This creates a backlog with vessels sitting at anchor outside the ports waiting to be unloaded.

We have experienced this at Prince Rupert and Vancouver.  We expect it to happen more frequently at LA/Long Beach in the next 2 months.  Reports are stating that a large number of importers are routing cargo to or via LA/Long Beach.  As well, many of the ‘express’ services offered by steamship lines are only available via LA/Long Beach.

 It seems that record-high rates does not necessarily equate to better service. 

On top of record-high rates many steamship lines are now charging a ‘premium’ surcharge to guarantee space on a vessel.  The surcharges range from $ 750 – $ 2000 per container.

At the moment, it appears that GRIs implemented on September 1st are holding and we expect rates to remain at this level or higher through the end of October.

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.