Skip to content
latest news

The Xeneta Newsfeed

Banner_Industry_Updatesv2-2

The latest news updates from across the ocean and air freight shipping markets.

Media requests for further information or interviews should be sent to press@xeneta.com or contact Philip Hennessey, Director of Communications (UK based), on +44 7830 021808.

To read the latest Xeneta press releases click here.

 

UPDATE: Conflict in the Red Sea brings massive increases in carbon emissions to ocean freight shipping

Tuesday, 23 April 2024

The Xeneta and Marine Benchmark Carbon Emissions Index (CEI), which measures carbon emissions per ton of cargo transported across the world’s top 13 trades, hit 107.4 points in Q1 2024 - the highest it has been since the index began in Q1 2018.

For containers being shipped via ocean from the Far East to Mediterranean, the CEI reveals carbon emissions increased by 63% in Q1 2024 compared to Q4 2023. From the Far East into North Europe, carbon emissions increased by 23%.This is a direct result of conflict in the Red Sea region, which escalated in December and has seen most ocean freight container services avoid the Suez Canal due to the threat of attack by Houthi militia.

Emily Stausbøll, Xeneta Market Analyst, said: “We are all aware of the human and economic cost of war, but this data demonstrates there is also price to pay for the climate."

For more quotes and information read the Xeneta press release here.

For more data and insights on the carbon emissions increases read the latest Xeneta blog here.

 

UPDATE: Flooding causes disruption at Dubai Airport

Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Record rainfall in the UAE yesterday, Tuesday, has caused significant disruption at Dubai Airport with the potential for a knock-on impact on air freight services. Emirates airline has stated there will be delays to departures and arrivals at the airport due to the flooding.

Dubai airport has become a key hub for sea-air freight services after escalation of conflict in the Red Sea region in December last year made the Suez Canal out of bounds for many ocean freight container ships. Cargo from the Far East is now arriving at Jebel Ali port via ocean freight container services for onward travel via air from Dubai Airport to destinations in Europe and North America.

As a result, Dubai airport has seen demand for air freight more than double for outbound cargo to Europe in February and March compared to the same months in 2023.

Niall van de Wouw, Xeneta Chief Airfreight Officer, said:: “The conflict in the Red Sea has seen some shippers switch to sea-air services to protect their supply chains so disruption at Dubai Airport is the last thing they need right now.

“Flooding in Dubai also follows escalation in conflict between Iran and Israel over the weekend which saw airspace closures across the Middle East due to drone attacks and the seizure of the MSC Aries ocean freight container ship in the Strait of Hormuz, which is the gateway to the Arabian Gulf and Jebel Ali port.

“Disruption from rainfall is temporary, but the knock-on effects of flight cancellations and missed connections could be felt for one to two weeks because of the tight capacity situation that was already present prior to this downpour.”

 

UPDATE: Container ships continue to sail through Strait of Hormuz following seizure of MSC Aries by Iran

Monday, 15 April 2024

Ocean freight container ships are still sailing through the Strait of Hormuz despite the seizure of MSC Aries by Iran Revolutionary Guards in the early hours of Saturday, 13 April.

The map image below shows ocean freight container ships transiting the region today, Monday.

Peter Sand, Xeneta Chief Analyst, said: “The seizure of MSC Aries is a targeted attack by Iran on Israeli interests rather than a random hijacking

“There would be far more concern in the industry if this was the start of sustained and indiscriminate attacks, but that doesn’t appear to be the case and container ships are continuing to sail through the Strait of Hormuz.

“Unless the situation deteriorates further, the seizure of MSC Aries is unlikely to result in the kind of supply chain disruption we have witnessed recently in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden where almost any ship is at risk of attack by Houthi militia.

“However, this is another example of nation states attempting to weaponize international supply chains and that should be a cause for concern for us all."

Sand on the potential impact of the MSC Aries incident on ocean freight shipping rates:

“Whenever there is uncertainty in the market there is the potential for ocean freight shipping rates to increase – as we have seen most recently following the escalation of conflict in the Red Sea. However, oil prices have not spiked as some feared they may do, and ships are seemingly sailing through the Strait of Hormuz without issues, so any direct impact on rates may be limited.”

hormuz map apr 15 with source

 

UPDATE: Container ship is seized by Iran Revolutionary Guards in Strait of Hormuz.

Saturday, 13 April 2024

The seizure of a container ship by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz this morning, Saturday, is 'extremely concerning' and threatens to put trade lanes in the Middle East at risk.

It has been reported that the MSC Aries was seized by Iran Revolutionary Guards 50 nautical miles (92 km) northeast of Fujairah, an area close to the Strait of Hormuz that forms the entrance to the Arabian Gulf.

The latest incident follows ongoing conflict in the Red Sea region - the gateway to the Suez Canal - which has seen ocean freight container ships avoiding the area due to missile attacks by Houthi militia.

Peter Sand, Xeneta Chief Analyst, said: "An already bad situation in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has just got worse and could put ocean freight container imports and oil exports in the Middle East at risk.

"We don't yet know the full details of the incident in the Strait of Hormuz, but any widening of the conflict which has already resulted in huge disruption to ocean freight services in the Red Sea region would be extremely concerning.

"For example, Dubai is a regional hub for imports as well as sea-air corridors, with containers arriving by ocean via the Strait of Hormuz for onward travel by air to Europe and North America. If ships are impacted from sailing into the Arabian Gulf then the disruption would be considerable."

 

UPDATE: China to Mexico trade - further evidence of an enormous and sustained shift in ocean freight volumes.

Friday, 12 April 2024

New figures released today, Friday, reveal continued strong growth in container shipping volumes from China to Mexico - a trade which has been dubbed the ‘back door into the US’.

Accumulated volumes for January and February are up 50% compared to the first two months of 2023. This follows January figures which showed a 60% year-on-year increase. (source: Container Trades Statistics).

Volumes in February 2024 hit 92 257 TEU (20ft equivalent container), up from 65 308 TEU in February 2023.

While the latest accumulated figures indicate a slight slowing in growth, it still represents a significant volume shift and further evidence of businesses attempting to circumvent tariffs on goods imported from China into the US as part of a trade war between the nations.

Peter Sand, Xeneta Chief Analyst, said: “The latest figures for 2024 follow 35% annual growth in 2023 so these are not one-off months of increasing demand - it is an enormous and sustained shift.

"We have previously stated this is the fastest growing trade on planet Earth and that is still the case.

"Importing into the US via Mexico is far more difficult operationally, because it takes longer and it is more cumbersome.

"It shows how big the financial incentive must be for shippers to avoid US tariffs by importing via Mexico  that they are still willing to take on these operational delays and inefficiencies in their supply chains."

China Mexico volume Feb 24

UPDATE: Baltimore bridge collapse has not triggered an increase in ocean freight shipping rates.

Monday, 8 April 2024

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore has caused supply chain disruption on the US East Coast but, so far, it has not seen an increase in ocean freight container shipping rates.

Data released today, Monday, by Xeneta, the ocean freight rate benchmarking and intelligence platform, reveals average spot rates from the Far East into the US North East Coast (including Baltimore) have fallen slightly (-1%) since the bridge collapse on 26 March to stand at USD 5421 per FEU (40ft shipping container).

When including other US East Coast ports such as New York / New Jersey, rates from the Far East have decreased by 3% in the same period.

Average spot rates from North Europe to the US North East Coast have fallen by a larger 8% in the same period to stand at USD 2357 per FEU. When including other US East Coast ports, rates have decreased by 4%.

Peter Sand, Xeneta Chief Analyst, said: “Spot rates have not reacted but that doesn’t mean shippers with cargo heading to Baltimore are not affected – on the contrary they are seeing containers arriving at ports they were not expecting.

“The majority of containers will now be handled at New York / New Jersey because many of the ships originally bound for Baltimore would have been stopping there anyway, which is perhaps why we haven’t seen an upwards impact on rates.

“Ocean freight container shipping rates may not have increased following the bridge collapse, but this incident is yet another problem for shippers to handle on top of all the other disruptions impacting supply chains at the moment, including the ongoing diversions in the Red Sea region and drought in the Panama Canal.”

For more insight and quotes on this story - as well the potential for further disruption on the US East Coast through labor disputes at ports click here.

 

UPDATE: Maersk to reinstate OC1 service transits through Panama Canal

Friday, 5 April 2024

Maersk has announced today, Friday, that it will re-introduce transits of the Panama Canal for the OC1 service, which had previously been withdrawn due to restrictions caused by low water levels.

The service will return to its pre-existing rotation effective from 10 May and see the phasing out of the “two-loop” set-up which utilized the Panama Rail connection.

Maersk has cited the upcoming rainy season and announcement by the Panama Canal Authority of additional daily transit slots as the basis for its decision.

Peter Sand, Xeneta Chief Analyst, said: “There is still a long way to go before this becomes a normal transit. There may be projections for increased rainfall but at the moment they are just that – projections. If water levels do not rise then it will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether Maersk can stick to this timeline.

“There is clearly a desire to return to transiting the Panama Canal because the current alternative using the rail connection involves lifting boxes twice, which takes time and is far less efficient.

“We are all at the mercy of climate change and weather phenomenon such as El Niño, so only time will tell if we can return to a semblance of normality in the Panama Canal.”

 

UPDATE: Third consecutive month of demand growth in airfreight market

Thursday, 4 April 2024

Global air cargo market demand rose +11% year-on-year for a third consecutive month in March as buoyant e-commerce volumes and concerns over the impact of conflict in the Red Sea region on ocean freight services delivered an unexpected first quarter bonus for forwarders and airlines.

Niall van de Wouw, Xeneta’s Chief Airfreight Officer, said: "While this latest monthly data should be balanced against the lower base recorded in the corresponding month of 2023, when we saw weakened global manufacturing activities, Q1 2024 has still seen a surprisingly busy airfreight market. The level of demand in the first quarter doesn’t indicate a market which is running out of steam so far."

For more on this story and quotes from Niall van de Wouw click here.


UPDATE: Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore

Tuesday, 26 March 2024

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore has collapsed after it was struck by a container ship at around 1.35am ET. Emergency responders have declared a mass casualty event and a multi-agency rescue operation is under way for people who entered the water.

The container ship involved is the Singapore-flagged Dali which can carry just under 10 000 TEU (20ft shipping containers) and was operating on a 2M alliance service between Baltimore and the Far East.

Emily Stausbøll, Xeneta Market Analyst, said: “This is a tragic and extremely serious mass casualty event and our thoughts are with all those people involved.

“The immediate focus is the rescue operation, but there will clearly be a highly-complex recovery phase and investigation to follow and we don't know what impact this will have on operations at the Port of Baltimore.

“While Baltimore is not one of the largest US East Coast ports, it still imports and exports more than one million containers each year so there is the potential for this to cause significant disruption to supply chains.

"Far East to US East Coast ocean freight services have already been impacted by drought in the Panama Canal and recent conflict in the Red Sea, which saw rates increase by 150%, so this latest incident will add to those concerns.

"It is likely other larger US East Coast ports such as neighbouring New York/New Jersey and Virginia can handle additional container imports if Baltimore is inaccessible, which may limit any impact on ocean freight shipping rates. However, there is only so much port capacity available and this will leave supply chains vulnerable to any further pressure.

"The question is how quickly ocean freight carriers can put diversions in place, particularly for vessels already en route to Baltimore or containers at the port waiting to be exported."

 

UPDATE: MEPC81 meeting takes place with global maritime supply chains in the grip of drought

Friday, 22 March 2024

The spotlight has fallen on carbon emissions in maritime shipping this week as the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meets in London following a year of exceptional climate-related incidents.

As well as ongoing drought in the Panama Canal, recent times have seen climate-related incidents and record-low water levels affect critical trade waterways including the Rhine in Europe, Yangtze in China, Mississippi in the US and the Amazon port of Manaus in Brazil.

Peter Sand, Xeneta Chief Analyst, said: “You cannot do anything about an El Nino weather event, but there is an argument to be made that there are too few initiatives, taking place too late, to protect the Panama Canal and its existence as an effective and efficient shortcut.

“This problem will be super difficult to solve, and it may well require the spirit of engineering innovation which saw the Panama Canal come into existence in the first place."

Peter Sand on carbon emission reduction: “The IMO is the only way to move the needle on climate change at a global scale.

“What we can say is that maritime shipping has a plan set in stone and reaching net zero GHG emissions from international shipping by 2050 is a mind-blowing target.”

For more quotes and insight click here.

 

UPDATE: Ocean freight container carriers report Q4 '23 operating losses

Wednesday, 20 March 2024

The average operating margins for the leading ocean freight container carriers (the nine largest companies reporting EBIT) fell to -3% in the final quarter of 2023 – the first time it has dropped below zero in five years. (source: Alphaliner)

Six out of the nine carriers reported operating losses in this period, including for the first time Hapag-Lloyd and ONE.

Peter Sand, Xeneta Chief Analyst, said: “Managing global container shipping supply chains in the modern world requires robust risk management, understanding what may be coming over the horizon and having contingency plans in place to react decisively. This applies to carriers, carrier CFOs and global shippers.

"The conflict in the Red Sea will certainly help carriers’ operating margins in Q1 this year, but the results from Q4 2023 demonstrate there are significant underlying financial challenges for carriers going forward.” 

UPDATE: How low will spot rates go from Far East into Europe?

Monday, 18 March 2024

Average spot rates from the Far East into Europe are continuing to slide from their Red Sea crisis peak – the question now is how low will they go?

Rates from the Far East into the Mediterranean hit a peak of USD 6020 per FEU on 16 January, but have since fallen back to USD 4370 on 18 March, including a drop of USD 450 on 1 March.

Similarly rates into North Europe have fallen from their Red Sea crisis peak of 4860 per FEU on 16 January to USD 3600 on 18 March including a drop of USD 400 on 1 March.Rates ST FE to MED 18 March

Rates on both trades are still significantly above their pre-Red Sea crisis level in mid-December, but they are currently only headed in one direction.

Emily Stausbøll, Xeneta Market Analyst, said: “Shippers are pushing back hard against additional costs related to the Red Sea, whether that is through surcharges or base rate increases. The question is how low will rates go while ships continue to sail around Africa.

"We have seen average spot rates fall gradually throughout March following a significant drop on the first day on the month and early data on the Xeneta platform suggests a further sizeable decrease on 1 April.

“We’re still a fair way off returning to pre-Red Sea crisis levels, but the data suggests there is still room for rates to fall further.

"The market will also be looking towards whether rates into the US from the Far East continue to follow the pattern of rates into Europe, as they have done since the escalation in the Red Sea."

 

UPDATE: Massive increase in container shipping imports from China into Mexico amid ongoing US trade war

Friday, 15 March 2024

Growth in demand for container shipping imports from China into Mexico in January 2024 increased by 60% compared to 12 months ago, further fuelling suspicions it has become a ‘back door into the US’.

This is now one of the strongest trade lanes in the world according to analysts at Xeneta, the leading ocean freight rate benchmarking and intelligence platform, with 117,000 TEU (20ft equivalent container) shipped in January of this year compared to 73,000 TEU in January 2023 (source: Container Trades Statistics).

Peter Sand, Xeneta Chief Analyst, said: “A sizeable proportion of the goods arriving in Mexico by ocean will likely be trucked into the US, which gives rise to the suspicion that the increase in trade we are witnessing is due to importers trying to circumvent US tariffs."

More more quotes read the full press release here.

 

UPDATE: Damaged underwater cables following Rubymar sinking will prove extremely difficult to repair

Tuesday, 12 March 2024

The US government has reported that the sinking of the Rubymar in the Red Sea region following a missile strike by Houthi militia has damaged underwater fiberoptic cables for internet services. 

Peter Sand, Xeneta Chief Analyst, said:"The real problem in a war risk area is that you cannot just repair the cable as you would anywhere else.

"You cannot send a cable repair ship to the Red Sea right now."

The damage to underwater communications infrastructure follows the recent attack on the vessel True Confidence which caused the death of three crew members.

Sand said: "Every company has its own risk assessment — which explains why some are still transiting the Red Sea. But a red line may now have been crossed with the casualties.

"I don't see a large-scale military response, I expect the naval forces in the area to continue to do a thorough investigation of targets that need to be dealt with to secure the safe passage of commercial ships."


UPDATE: New vessels add to carriers’ ocean freight overcapacity headache

Monday, 11 March 2024

In January and February there has been 449 500 TEU of capacity added to the market through the delivery of new vessels.

The previous record was in 2018 with 311 700 TEU.

Emily Stausbøll said: “At the end of last year there were big questions being asked about what these new ships would be doing given the levels of demand.

That has been partly answered due to the situation in the Red Sea, but there is still plenty of capacity in the market and more ships are scheduled to introduced during the rest of this year.

“With an expected 2.3 million TEU to be introduced in 2024, the problem of overcapacity is not going away for carriers.”


UPDATE: Air cargo rates from India to Northeast US increase 40%

Friday, 8 March 2024

The general air cargo spot rate from India to Northeast US had increased nearly 40% compared to the start of this year. In the week ending 3 March, the rate stood at USD 3.40 per kg.

Wenwen, Xeneta Airfreight Analyst, said: “Demand on this corridor appears to have peaked two weeks ago so I do have some doubts about whether this momentum will continue.

“Airlines are also set to announce their summer schedules at the end of March which will see belly capacity increase on the trade between India and US and put downward pressure on rates.”

Air cargo spot rates from India to Northeast US surged, following spikes in demand

 

UPDATE: Question marks over ocean freight reliability amid alliance shake-up

Thursday, 7 March 2024

TPM24 took place in California this week and the make-up and services offered by alliances was a popular topic for discuss. In particular, the new Gemini Alliance (Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk) and the target for 90% service reliability.

Emily Stausbøll, Xeneta Market Analyst, said: “A year ago, before the Red Sea crisis, Maersk’s global service reliability was 57.5% and Hapag-Lloyd was 50.9%.

“Both carriers now have a service reliability of 45.5%, which means there is a significant improvement required to get anywhere close to the 90% target.

“Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd are not alone because global schedule reliability across all carriers hasn’t risen above 70% since July 2020. So shippers will need some convincing that the Gemini Alliance will be able to achieve these levels of reliability, especially if they are asked to pay more for it.”

 

UPDATE: Air cargo market volumes on the rise

Wednesday, 6 March 2024

The latest Xeneta data reveals the air cargo market’s strong start to the year is continuing.

Following January’s 11% growth in volumes, February saw a similarly welcome upward curve for airlines and freight forwarders with demand increasing +11% year-over-year.

In what is traditionally a slower time of year for airfreight volumes, the average global cargo spot rate in February rose +2% from the previous month to USD 2.29 per kg.

Niall van de Wouw, Xeneta Chief Airfreight Officer at Xeneta, said: “It’s a surprising start to the year from a volume perspective, and not something people would have expected, ourselves included, with demand much higher than it was a year ago. This is likely related to the Red Sea disruption, but this is not the only factor.”

View the full press release here including further quotes from Niall van de Wouw.

 

UPDATE: Rates on backhauls to Far East are softening

Tuesday, 5 March 2024

Spot rates on backhauls from the US and Europe to the Far East are softening.

Spot rates from North Europe to Far East hit a Red Sea crisis peak of USD 1017 per FEU on 1 February. They now stand at USD 924. Backhaul spot rates from US East Coast to Far East reached a peak of USD 879 per FEU on 7 February and now stand at USD 862.

US West Coast and Far East spot rates hit a Red Sea crisis peak of USD 925 per FEU on 1 January. They now stand at USD 892, albeit there has been a slight uptick in from USD 857 on 13 February.

Emily Stausbøll, Xeneta Market Analyst, said: "Major trades from the Far East into Europe and the US have been the main focus during the Red Sea crisis but the backhaul trades have also been impacted.

"Similarly to the fronthaul trades, spot rates on the backhauls have been softening slightly in recent weeks as everyone adjusts to the new service schedules and it seems more apparent there is enough capacity to manage this demand."

 

UPDATE: Rubymar sinking will heighten Red Sea concerns

Monday, 4 March 2024

It has been reported that the Rubymar cargo ship has sunk in the Red Sea two weeks after a missile attack by Houthi Militia in the Red Sea.

The ship was carrying fertilizer and is the first vessel to sink following escalation of attacks on vessels in mid-December last year.

Peter Sand, Xeneta Chief Analyst, said: “This incident demonstrates the ongoing danger for vessels transiting the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden and why the majority of ocean freight container ships are continuing to avoid the region. 

“This will do nothing to ease the concerns of ocean freight carriers, so it is likely the diversions around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa will be in place for the foreseeable future.”

 

UPDATE: US shippers contract negotiations will not be straightforward

Friday, 1 March 2024

The Xeneta Shipping Index (XSI®) has posted its biggest global increase in over 18 months – just days before many US shippers begin negotiations over new long-term contracts.

View the full press release here including quotes from Michael Braun, Xeneta VP of Customer Success & Solutions.

About Xeneta

Xeneta is the leading ocean and air freight rate benchmarking and market analytics platform transforming the shipping and logistics industry. Xeneta’s powerful reporting and analytics platform provides liner-shipping stakeholders the data they need to understand current and historical market behavior – reporting live on market average and low/high movements for both short and long-term contracts.

Xeneta’s data is comprised of over 400+ million contracted container and air freight rates and covers over 160,000 global ocean trade routes and over 58,000 airport-airport connections. Xeneta is a privately held company with headquarters in Oslo, Norway and regional offices in New Jersey, US and Hamburg. To learn more, please visit www.xeneta.com

 

Say goodbye to freight rate uncertainty with real-time data

Every second, our platform processes 450M+ data points from the world's largest shipping companies for unmatched, real-time market intelligence.