Each time a GRI is announced, everyone holds their breath in anticipation that maybe THIS time the rates will stick; however, hopes are usually dashed thanks to the glut of surplus capacity even though there are signs of capacity removal by some shipping lines. Besides, does peak shipping season even still exist?
We asked this question in our latest Twitter survey and the majority of responses, 69%, indicated peak shipping season no longer exists while 31% indicated that it still does.
The traditional peak season is fast approaching as container lines implement GRIs effective August 1. Among the announcements are Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) announcing an $850 per TEU on the Asia to North Europe, the Mediterranean and Black Sea lanes; CMA CGM plans to implement a $600 per TEU on Asia to North Europe and Hapag-Lloyd will increase its ‘FAK’ (Freight all Kinds) rate on the Asia to Europe and Mediterranean lanes by $1,150 per TEU.
What Does "Peak Season" Really Mean?
Peak Season can mean different things for different sectors, according to Larry Gross, Senior Partner at freight transportation consultancy FTR. For example, for small parcel delivery companies, THE peak season was usually during the holiday season beginning in November and lasting through January. But, in an earlier earnings call, Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx, remarked that because of the massive growth in e-commerce, the company anticipates several ‘mini- peaks’ throughout the year.
“compared to 20-30 years ago, shippers are far more prepared for volume surges, due to technological gains available today providing advance information on incoming shipments, as well as an operating environment that is much less manual today and resulted in smoother and more efficient terminal operations, coupled with a vast infusion of capital investments to improve terminal infrastructure and capacity, which benefits both shippers and over all network performance”.
Indeed, thanks to technology gains, transportation of goods is becoming more efficient and as a result, the traditional peak season is also changing. Perhaps the peak season as many of us remember in years past is not as impactful as it once was, but instead spread out through the year and as more and more shippers opt to hold on to more inventory just-in-case.