Regular information on current developments

What is currently shaping the air freight market? What about sea freight? What about the rail connection with China? Read more.


The market situation remains tense worldwide. Most recently, the boom in imports of personal protective equipment (PPE) drove up demand by leaps and bounds. Now, demand for test kits is on the rise. Once again, imports from both China and the U.S. to Europe are picking up strongly. Overall, the number of large shipments with high volume is increasing. Demand for charters also remains high.

From China to Europe, rates have been picking up significantly since last week. In the opposite direction from Europe to China, the capacity situation remains stably high.

From and to North America, load factors remain at a consistently high level. SENATOR INTERNATIONAL is again operating with additional departures on the "SAB" SENATOR Atlantic Bridge.


The global situation remains critical. For export from Europe to Asia, the same applies as before: full ships, rates at a high level, scarce equipment. These factors must be taken into account for all bookings.

An incident in the Suez Canal further complicates the situation. Since Tuesday morning, the canal in Egypt has been closed in both directions. A container ship belonging to the Evergreen Line had drifted off course and got stuck transversely. So far, attempts to free the ship with tugs have been unsuccessful. The situation is still unclear at present. It can be assumed that the incident will cause considerable delays to the timetables.

For shipments with destination Egypt, the new regulation "ACI" (Advanced Cargo Information) will take effect from 01 April 2021. Initially this will start in a test phase, from 01 July it will become mandatory. 

For exports from Europe to North and South America, the peak continues for almost all destination ports. Especially the trades USA, Mexico as well as the West Coast of South America show high utilization. Some ships are fully booked 6 weeks in advance. Relaxation is not in sight. In the direction of LATAM, rates have risen by up to 300 EUR per TEU.

In the Port of Hamburg, there are significant delays in rail loading - even to the point of abandoning loading in order not to jeopardize schedules entirely. Currently, the container terminals Eurogate Hamburg, CTA and CTT are about 8 hours behind schedule in handling. Potential delays must be taken into account. Forward planning is called for.

For imports to Europe, too, there is still no sign of relief. Rates remain at a high level for April as well. Free containers and the space situation continue to be drivers. High demand. Many shipowners are still sounding out the market and waiting until the end of the month before updating rates.


10th anniversary for the New Silk Road. On March 19th, rail transport between China and Europe celebrated its birthday. Through the Corona crisis, the Eurasian rail link continues to achieve significant growth. High demand here, too.

Whether the previously valid ban on the transport of dangerous goods between China and Europe will be lifted? Still open. The debate is in full swing. Last week, the Geely Holding Group, one of China's largest car manufacturers, spoke out in favor of lifting the ban. Background: the ban poses major hurdles for the transport of electric cars between China and Europe. This also takes place to a not inconsiderable extent by rail (source: railfreight.com).



Latin America's largest country is in the worst phase of the COVID 19 pandemic to date. Infection figures are rising rapidly, as are deaths. Major cities like Sao Paulo are responding with strict lockdown measures to keep people at home if possible. Some companies announce short-term production stops to comply with restrictions.

Restrictions are increasingly taking effect for air freight to and from Brazil. Passenger flights (PAX) were sporadic anyway, now further reduced. Rates fluctuate depending on weekly capacity. Rates remain high for export to neighboring LATAM states. Free capacity is scarce. Some cargo airlines now only accept bookings with up to 4 weeks lead time. Forward planning is an effective means of counteracting this.

For ocean freight, the situation also remains tricky. Rates fluctuate, with trade from Europe showing high increases recently. From Asia to Brazil, the rate development is somewhat more relaxed. Free slots and available equipment continue to be scarce, especially reefer containers. Delays are to be expected.


Truck transports from China to Europe are possible again. Transit time for import to Europe is about 20-30 days. Reason for the delays: The border crossing between China and Kazakhstan (near Alashankou/Dostyk) is still heavily congested.

According to a study by the Duisburg-based CAR-Center Automotive Research, China has recently made further strong gains in car sales. According to the study, the lead in sales of new passenger cars over Western Europe increased by around 2.44 million vehicles in January and February 2021 (Source: handelsblatt.com).


SENATOR INTERNATIONAL focuses on sustainability. Two tractor units are now in use that run on liquid gas. In cooperation with the partner company Penzkofer Transporte GmbH, two so-called LNG trucks (Liquified Natural Gas) are in operation. 

The new drive technology is significantly more environmentally friendly: particulate emissions are reduced by 99% and nitrogen oxides by 70%. The vehicles are also much quieter. The new technology will initially be used for customers in the automotive industry.


Bottlenecks for air freight to and from Mexico are currently easing somewhat - thanks in part to additional capacity. Unstable fuel prices are leading to surcharges on rates. SENATOR INTERNATIONAL flies three times a week on the "SAB" SENATOR Atlantic Bridge from Frankfurt (FRA) to Mexico City (MEX) with B767-300F freighters.

Rates remain high for ocean freight. To and from Europe and USA, capacity constraints are still expected.


New restrictions due to the Corona crisis combined with Brexit have been hampering air traffic between the UK and South Africa for weeks. As a result, air cargo capacity is down. In addition to British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and South African Airways, other airlines have now temporarily suspended flights. The "SAB" SENATOR Africa Bridge offers a good alternative. The combination of air freight and truck transport from South Africa also leads faster to the destination for surrounding countries. Specifically, there are options from London (LHR) and Manchester (MAN) to Frankfurt-Hahn (HHN). From HHN, direct flights to Johannesburg (JNB) operate three times a week with B747-400F freighters.


Demurrage times at U.S. ports have increased, in some cases dramatically, due to the accompanying effects of the Corona crisis. Some shipowners are reacting by canceling several connections due to a simple lack of available ships. Quite a few are stuck in the roads. Delays in processing ashore are exacerbating the backlog of waiting ships off the coasts.

Some shipowners continue to increase rates on transatlantic services from Europe to North America, including Hapag Lloyd, CMA CGM and MSC.

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