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


In general, capacity utilization in air freight is tight worldwide. Airlines no longer make fixed commitments for new, regular allocations. For the most part, only ad hoc bookings (free sale) are possible.

90% of a journey of an air cargo takes place on the ground. Ground handling is an important factor for transit time and service. There are still delays with Import clearance at Frankfurt Airport (FRA). The result: long waiting times. SENATOR is working to actively avoid bottlenecks in ground handling in order to accelerate transit times as much as possible in this critical situation.

For North America Trade (especially Europe to USA) the demand is consistently very high, also on the "SAB" SENATOR Africa Bridge to South Africa.


For imports from Asia, the situation is becoming even more acute. The first shipowners have imposed a booking stop on certain ships. Available places will become even scarcer - until the end of the year the space situation will remain extremely limited.

The equipment situation in the ports will also remain tense for the time being. Hardly any empty containers, shortage of personnel in the ports due to COVID-19 and strikes will cause long waiting times. All shipowners have applied emergency surcharges to the rates (PSS, EQU Imbalance, etc.). For December the rate level is expected to increase to well over USD 5,000 per FEU (Fourty Foot Equivalent Unit = 40').

Also, the export from Europe to Asia is currently delayed. Arrivals in Asia are up to 10 days late. This is caused by the continuing heavy congestion in British ports.

In addition, the vessels are generally still extremely fully booked. Cosco's AEU1 service, which is currently calling at Wilhelmshaven instead of Hamburg, still has a few free places. As a result, Cosco Container ranks from Hamburg to Wilhelmshaven. The impact on transit time is up to 10 days.


Furthermore, the rail connection between Europe and China is also plagued by problems. Nevertheless, a slight easing of tension can be seen,the situation is becoming clearer. The availability of free containers and the high rates are currently the main problem.

The backlog at the important border crossings China I Kazakhstan and Belarus I Poland still continues. Delays should still be taken into account for all bookings. Exports from Europe to China continue to run smoothly; a real alternative to the difficult situation of ocean freight.



On November 15th, 2020, China has set an exclamation mark. Together with 14 Asia-Pacific states of the ASEAN association of states, China has concluded the largest free trade agreement in the world. After eight years of negotiations, the agreement was signed in Vietnam's capital Hanoi.

The agreement includes a reduction in customs duties, common trade rules and a simplification of supply chains. The package includes trade, services, investment, e-commerce, telecommunications and intellectual property rights. The EU and the USA will find themselves under pressure in the coming months (source: financialtimes.com).


The situation is also tense on the transpacific ocean link between the USA and Asia. Due to rising demand on both sides of the Pacific, shipowners are having difficulty handling all shipments. Here too: Delays, exploding rates, nervous customers. A positive trend is not yet apparent in this region either (source: theloadstar.com).

After a nearly two-year grounding period, the Boeing 737 MAX will be allowed to resume scheduled service in 2021. After long tests and technical optimization, the U.S. Air Traffic Control lifted the ban. After two crashes with more than 300 fatalities, the aircraft type was removed from scheduled service.

The airlines have so far been hesitant to react. American Airlines plans to reinstate the Boeing 737 MAX, Southwest and Ryanair are still negotiating (source: aero.de).

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