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.


Airlines worldwide are reporting very high utilization rates. The demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE, respirators, protective clothing, disinfectants, etc.) in Europe is and remains high. As a result, the import of PPE from China continues to increase. The number of passenger aircraft used for cargo flights (so-called Pax Freighters) has increased significantly.

SENATOR INTERNATIONAL responds to the high demand with additional connections on the "SAB" routes. Currently there are 6 extra flights on the "SAB" SENATOR Atlantic Bridge. On the market, the tense situation is showing corresponding effects: rates are increasing again and are back to the level of the 4th quarter of 2020.

The situation in handling is coming to a noticeable head due to the enormous demand. At Frankfurt Airport (FRA), the waiting time for consignment handover of incoming freight takes up to 2 days. No ground handling agent is currently able to keep regular times. Shipment volume, tonnage and the glut of loose packages force the delays. SENATOR INTERNATIONAL avoids the bottleneck FRA where it makes sense and increasingly moves cargo via Munich (MUC). But here as well, processes are slowing down. Significant delays must be factored in for the upcoming weeks.


The situation remains critical for exports from Europe to Asia. Containers are missing worldwide, mainly stranded in Australia or the USA. Outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach alone, some 600,000 TEU (20' units) are stuck on more than 40 waiting ships. One of many factors: due to Corona infections, both ports lack operational personnel.

In Europe, there is a shortage of empty equipment. At the same time, overcrowded ports are becoming a bottleneck. This affects schedules. Reliable departures are almost non-existent. Delays are the rule. The enormous imbalance of empty containers leads to surcharges on the part of the shipping companies. However, even the payment of surcharges does not guarantee equipment and departures. Where equipment is missing, the booked shipment is cancelled at short notice.

The ships to Asia are still overbooked. There is hardly anything left until March. Rates remain at a high level for the time being. An easing of prices cannot be expected before mid-April. British ports and also important hubs such as Port Kelang (Malaysia) continue to be overloaded. Ships from Europe to the Far East are therefore delayed by up to 5 days. 

For exports from Europe to North and South America, ships are also reported fully booked until mid-March. The situation to Mexico is similarly tense. Shipowners continue to react with surcharges such as PSS or EIS. At the moment, there are no signs of an imminent easing of the situation. To South America, vessel utilization is high for both the East Coast (SAEC) and the West Coast (SAWC). Unusual for the beginning of the year. Here as well: no indications of an easing in the near future.

In order to cope with the transport volume in the Port of Hamburg, truck deliveries are currently only permitted 48 or 72 hours before the arrival of ships, depending on the terminal. Due to the high water on German rivers, a high water surcharge is currently being levied on the Rhine. This depends on the water level at the time of transport. If possible, it is recommended to use truck and/or rail. Bookings should be placed everywhere as early as possible.


The German government has announced an investment offensive of 34 million euros to improve access to rail. The German Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association (DSLV) and the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) welcome the decision. Part of the package is the new siding subsidy directive, which is to come into force on March 1, 2021. The new guideline supports railroads, shippers and freight forwarders in the expansion and new construction of sidings. Of particular note is the first-ever financial support for the construction of multifunctional terminals (source: vhsp.de).



Shortly before the start of Chinese New Year (February 11th to 17th), the situation in the most important Chinese ports is getting worse. At the port of Yantian in particular, trucks are queuing for miles to get to the terminal. The capacity at the terminals is exhausted and warehouses all around can hardly cope with the freight volume either. A waiting time of several days has to be taken into account. The situation is similar in Xiamen, Ningbo, Shanghai and Qingdao.


The import of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) continues to boom. In order to prioritize the clearance of PPE, the document code "9DFA - Priority Import Clearance of Medical Equipment and Supplies (Corona Layer)" was created. Read more about what needs to be considered in detail for importing supplies here:


Miami (MIA) has set a new record for cargo volume thanks to a surge in demand at the end of 2020. Last year, the Florida airport saw an increase of 57,382 tons compared to the previous year. In particular, the transit function toward Latin America plays a crucial role for Miami (source: aircargonews.net).
A container ship of the Danish shipping company Maersk lost about 750 containers on the Pacific Ocean. The cause of the incident on the crossing from China to Los Angeles was rough weather. The damage of the lost goods amounts to several million US dollars (source: wsj.com).

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