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.


Global rates are picking up again. Prices to South America in particular are rising significantly and are already back at the peak level from Q4 2020.

Utilization of aircraft to China increased significantly shortly before the Chinese New Year holidays. The same applies to imports from China. Due to the enormous demand for PPE (Personal Protection Equipment, respirators, etc.), demand is increasing. Free places become rare. To improve the situation SENATOR INTERNATIONAL offers additional charter flights to Germany.

Strict quarantine restrictions in Europe cause delays for the whole region. Recently KLM announced to cancel cargo flights completely. The reason was political decisions in the Netherlands. The plan has since been revised. Other airlines are also struggling with consequences of the COVID 19 restrictions. In addition to shortages and bottlenecks in the air, there are problems on the ground in many places. Ground handling in Frankfurt takes up to two days after ETA to check in shipments for forwarding.

Effective immediately, SENATOR INTERNATIONAL offers a state-of-the-art warehouse in close proximity to Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP). The new building with almost 7,000 square meters is located in Duncan, South Carolina. Direct access to Interstate 85 and to automotive industry plants are plus points. GSP Airport is close by: it's only 5 miles from there. The main contact for direct inquiries is Arie Ooms / Director Logistics Americas: arie.ooms@atl.senator-international.com.


For export and import Asia ships are still full. Full to the brim. Massively overbooked. Rates remain at the highest level. Hotly contested remaining space is only available at extremely high daily prices. In addition to an extreme shortage of shipping space, there is a lack of empty containers. The market development is not driven by artificial shortages as often enough in the past. This time, even for the time of year before the Chinese holidays, it's increased demand. Too much cargo at once. And in Europe? Equipment is also in extremely short supply for export. Due to Brexit, ports are overloaded. As a result, departures are currently delayed by up to 10 days. The situation will remain tense until Chinese New Year. And after that, it may take time to clear backlogs.

Many shipping companies are currently examining how they will position themselves after Chinese New Year. Usually, that's when the slump in demand comes. Then reduce sailings? That would be the usual market mechanism. The situation is still difficult to calculate.

Ships are also still full in the direction of North America and Mexico. Shipowners react: further PSS (Peak Season Surcharge) and other surcharges are the result. Empty containers? In short supply. In the USA, some ports are overloaded. This is causing delays in rail traffic (inland ramps). And trucking companies are short of drivers.

Toward South America, space on board is available with most carriers. But here, too, global imbalances are making themselves felt. Empty containers are not always immediately available.


Rates on the rail link from Europe to China have risen for both FCL (Full Container Load) and LCL (Less than Container Load). Chinese New Year cranks up the price spiral.
Unbalanced traffic causes shortage of containers in China. Demand for imports from the Far East is still significantly higher than for exports there. This is driving up prices for westbound containers. The route is likely to remain unbalanced for an indefinite period due to Corona, as experts suspect (source: railfreight.com).



Last weekend, Brazil began distributing two million imported COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca in India. This was announced by the state-controlled Fiocruz Institute. At the same time, demonstrations against President Jair Bolsonaro's policies are taking place in several major cities across the country. Brazil continues to be particularly hard hit by the pandemic.


New cases of COVID-19 are appearing in individual regions of the country. In the north, the provinces of Liaoning and Hebei are affected. In the Beijing area, this is having an impact on the movement of goods. Strict measures and tight controls are also in place in the capital. Following positive tests of personnel, logistics facilities have been temporarily closed in some cases.


Ports on the west coast in particular are massively overloaded. Traders are shifting some of their ocean freight shipments to the East Coast.
For the first time, United Airlines launched freighter-only services to Atlanta (ATL) - using passenger aircraft without passengers. The major airport in the southern states is now served three times a week from Frankfurt (FRA) by Boeing 787s. High export demand. Virgin Atlantic also plans to expand similar services due to increasing demand.
Recent statistics for 2020 show a peak in air cargo rates. The important east-west trade routes were particularly affected last year.

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