Market Update

Market Update October 2023

October 10, 2023
Sasha Khan
Marketing Manager
8 Minutes

Sea Freight

Blank sailings surge as we enter Q4

With no immediate uplift in volume carriers are looking manage the capacity Indeed, the 2M, Ocean and THEA partners have all significantly ramped up their blanking programmes in the past few weeks taking out capacity on both the transpacific and Asia-Europe trades through to the end of next month in an attempt to halt the slide in rate levels.

In Q4 2023, blank sailings are expected to rise, especially on routes from Asia to Europe. The construction of new mega-vessels has led to an excess of shipping capacity, prompting shipping companies to use blank sailings to stabilise rates and maintain profitability. However, these cancellations can lead to delivery delays.

We believe that transparency and communication are essential in problem-solving. Our teams keep you informed at every step, keeping your supply chain agile, snd ensuring that you're always in the loop.

Panama Canal imposes passage restrictions

The Panama Canal, a major trade route for ships, is reducing the number of daily ship crossings from 32 to 31 (normally 36) because of a severe drought expected to last until next year.

Starting from 1st November, they will further reduce daily crossings, with nine ships passing through the Neopanamax lock and 22 through the Panamax lock.  

To prevent delays and backlogs, the ACP will offer a new schedule for ships, allowing customers to adjust their plans and reduce wait times for vessels that do not have a daily transit schedule.

Peak season already over as ocean demand drops

Market experts have noticed that demand for shipping has been decreasing over the past four weeks, especially before China's Golden Week holiday at the beginning of October.  

In July, Europe saw a 5.9% increase in imports from Asia compared to the previous year, and there was a 2.8% improvement in imports from Asia for the whole year up to that point.

However, the United States is still facing challenges, with a decrease of 8.3% in imports from Asia in July and 13.1% in August compared to the previous year. The peak season for shipping is considered to be over before it even began.

On the transatlantic route going from west to east, where demand has been weak and new ships are being added, rates are now 40% lower than they were in 2019 before the pandemic.

Martin’s team can assist clients in adapting to fluctuating demand by offering supply chain optimisation services. This may include alternative shipping routes, consolidation options, and inventory management strategies to mitigate delays and ensure a steady flow of goods.

Asia to North Europe rates drop further

Carriers have been trying to prevent a big drop in shipping rates for the past few months, but the end of September saw a significant crash in rates. The Freightos Baltic Exchange (FBX) Asia-North Europe spot rate has fallen to $997 for a 40-foot container, down from $1,743 on 1st of September.  

Shipping rates from Asia to the Mediterranean are also decreasing. They've fallen by 10% for two weeks in a row, bringing the average rate to $1,531 for a big container. Though fuel costs are higher now, the rates haven't been this low since early 2018.  

Shipping companies on the route between Europe and North America are trying to prevent rates from falling too quickly. Rates have gone from $8,000 to less than $2,000 for a 40-foot container in the past year.

Unsworth can provide clients with real-time market insights and rate forecasts, helping you make informed decisions about your shipping strategies. Our expertise can assist clients in adjusting their logistics plans to minimise the impact of rate fluctuations.

Air Freight

Positive recovery of global capacity underway

There is a steady and positive recovery of global capacity underway. From January to July 2023, there has been a 4.7% increase in capacity compared to the same period in 2019, just before the pandemic.

This may be due to the growth in belly capacity, which refers to the cargo holds of passenger aircraft being utilised for freight transport.

Airfreight spot rates for shipments from China to Europe have remained stable throughout the summer months. This stability suggests a potential return to the pre-Covid pattern, where the market typically levels off during the relatively calm summer period and then gains momentum towards the end of August or the beginning of September, in the approach towards the peak season.

Maciej’s team can help you take advantage of belly capacity opportunities. We help you assess the feasibility of using passenger flights for cargo and provide insights on cost-effective solutions

IAG opens new Heathrow cargo handling facility

Which will serve as the airline’s home for handling premium loose shipments. It will enable a doubling of the cargo volumes managed daily as a result of bespoke IT systems and systems integration to regulate freight movements and allocations.

We‘re partnering with to bring carbon accounting to our core services

Unsworth has integrated Pledge’s carbon emissions measurement platform with its freight management app, Pathway, to add an accredited logistics carbon accounting functionality to the UK freight forwarder’s basic service portfolio.

Pledge empowers freight forwarders to enable their customers to understand, report, and reduce their freight emission.

The newly functionality enables Unsworth and its customers to measure, understand, and report their carbon emissions to allow them to make informed decisions to minimise the carbon footprint of their services.

Pathway allows Unsworth to present clear and concise emissions data at every level, creating flexible reporting and empowering clients to build towards full Scope 3 emissions reporting.

“This strategic partnership enables us to leverage Pledge’s experience and expertise to better support our clients in their sustainability journey by pushing this new functionality to market quickly through Pathway, our self-designed and developed freight management app.”

James Coombs, Head of Innovation, Unsworth

EU Logistics & Customs

New Windsor Framework Now Live

On Sunday, a new trusted trader scheme came into effect with a system of green and red lanes at NI ports. This is happening as a result of the Windsor Framework, which replaced the Northern Ireland Protocol. The framework, which was agreed by the EU and UK in February, is the revised post-Brexit deal for Northern Ireland. It is intended to ease trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. BBC News NI's Economics and Business Editor John Campbell explains how it all works.

Unsworth are able to complete full set of docs for both green and red lanes.

P&O are to cut their ferry service between Liverpool and Dublin

P&O Ferries is to axe its Liverpool to Dublin ferry route by the end of 2023. Currently served by two vessels, Norbank and Norbay, the route currently operates 24 sailings between Liverpool and Dublin each week, carrying mainly freight and commercial traffic.

Once the service has gone at the end of the year there will be only one route linking the two ports. Seatruck’s freight-only service sees up to three sailings a day from Brocklebank Dock.

Unsworth have a good replacement trucking solution for anyone using P&O right now. Get in touch.

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