Regular information about developments worldwide

What is currently shaping the market for air freight? What for sea freight? What on the rail connection with China? You can read interesting facts here.


Worldwide demand is outstripping available capacity. The situation is complicated by new COVID cases in China, especially in Shanghai. The government's strict restrictions are affecting ground handling at airports. This is resulting in dramatic disruptions in air cargo traffic between Europe / North America and China. 

Due to temporary restrictions at Zhengzhou Airport (CGO), several airlines are currently not accepting import cargo to CGO. In addition, no airline transfer from CGO to Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG) is possible until further notice. As a result, exports to China are seriously affected. SENATOR INTERNATIONAL reacts and offers two direct charter flights from Tianjin (TSN) to Hannover (HAJ) every week from September 8, 2021. This will expand the "SAB" SENATOR Asia Bridge. 

In the direction of the USA, the situation is similar: high demand meets little available capacity. The "SAB" SENATOR Atlantic Bridge will be supplemented from September 2021. A self-controlled direct flight will take off daily from Frankfurt-Hahn (HHN) to Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP). In addition, there will be 3 connections per week from Frankfurt (HHN I FRA) to Chicago-Rockford (RFD).


The ocean freight market has also been stubbornly struggling with capacity constraints and lack of equipment. For export from Europe to Asia, rates remain stably high. Many ports in Asia continue to be congested. China in particular remains affected. In the port of Ningbo, the Meishan Terminal has been taken out of service due to a COVID outbreak. Currently, 48 ships are waiting off Ningbo to be handled. In general, up to 70% of ships are anchored off the ports of Shanghai, Yantian, Shekou Chiwan and Hong Kong in some cases. Cosco shipping company has temporarily closed the transhipment route via Hong Kong due to lack of capacity. 

New surcharges (PSS, Peak Season Surcharge) have been announced for transhipment services to Australia/New Zealand. As a result, direct services are fully booked or shipowners generally refuse new bookings. Delays and additional costs have to be taken into account.

Demand also remains very high for exports from Europe to North America and Mexico. Currently, volumes for 2021 are calculated 25% higher than last year. The result: consistently high rates. Depending on the destination and shipping company, seats are booked out 3 - 5 weeks in advance. Especially to the US West Coast, demand remains extreme due to a lack of services. In the direction of South America, demand is also at a high level. Especially for connections to the South American West Coast. The space situation is tight. 

For imports from Asia to Europe, demand and prices continue to rise. Free seats are scarce. The equipment situation is deteriorating. All shipping companies are undersupplied with containers. Schedule delays and massive delays will continue for the time being. 


The container terminal in Ningbo has resumed operations after a closure due to new covid cases. According to the Bloomberg news agency, the port should be back to full operations in the foreseeable future. However, the impact is still being felt. Ningbo operates one of the most important container terminals for rail freight. Consequently, delays are still to be expected on the route from China to Europe (source: railfreight.com).



The vaccination process is to be further accelerated. Currently, 60% of the population has received the first vaccination. Fully vaccinated 28% have been vaccinated so far. Further recovery is forecast for the economy. In air cargo, the situation remains tense. The lack of passenger flights is affecting capacity and driving up prices. Exports are currently more critical than imports and require forward planning.

In ocean freight, carriers such as Transpacific are putting a lot of pressure on Latin America. Freight forwarders there are hardly able to supply the market with additional capacity. The result: high rates and delays in processing. All bookings should be made as far in advance as possible.


China's zero tolerance strategy towards COVID-19 is noticeably setting back the air cargo sector. Due to the tough restrictions, domestic passenger traffic in July 2021 remained 10.6% lower than the same month in 2019. Airlines may be forced to delay delivery of new Boeing and Airbus aircraft in favor of domestically produced models (China's ARJ21 and C919) (source: scmp.com).


Prices are rising seasonally in ocean freight. Short term options are scarce. Bookings should be made 2-3 weeks in advance. Planning ahead is also key for imports from Asia. Imports from LATAM remain problematic, especially from Brazil. 

For airfreight the situation is equally complicated. For export from Germany to Mexico free places are rare. Our "SAB" SENATOR Atlantic Bridge from Frankfurt (FRA) to Mexico City (MEX) is a good solution. For imports from China, there are delays due to disruptions in Shanghai (PVG). The same applies to flights from Hong Kong (HKG). At least 2 weeks advance booking is required. On the USA to Mexico route, capacities are almost back to normal. Los Angeles (LAX) and Chicago O'Hare (ORD) are currently the main departure airports for cargo bound for Mexico.


Covid-19 has South Africa firmly in its grip, with over 10,000 new cases per day. Despite the lockdown being downgraded to Level 3, many companies continue to operate entirely from remote offices. South African ports have recovered from the aftermath of the July cyberattack and have mostly resumed normal operations. 

In the road freight sector, a cold snap with snowfall since the weekend has hampered traffic on the main routes. In the meantime, most roads are clear again. Normal operations at border crossings into neighboring countries continue to be disrupted due to Covid-19 restrictions. Delays must still be expected here.


On August 6, 2021, operator OOCL (Orient Overseas Container Line) announced the launch of a brand new multimodal container service (rail-sea combination) from China to the US East Coast. In detail, the connection runs with a block train service between Xian and Kaliningrad. From there it continues on a feeder ship to Bremen. Further ship transport will be from northern Germany to various ports on the US East Coast (Source: verkehrsrundschau.de).

The Port of New Orleans has temporarily suspended operations at its container terminal. Background: Hurricane Ida has been battering the U.S. from east to south with heavy rains and strong winds. Other operators at U.S. southern ports are expected to have to suspend service for a short time as well (source: portnola.com).


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