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.


Demand for flights to the USA remains high. Accordingly, the utilization of the flights of our "SAB" SENATOR Atlantic Bridge is high. All bookings should be made as far in advance as possible. The pandemic-related staff shortages among pilots and cabin crews have eased somewhat recently. At this time, there are no significant flight cancellations.

With the increasing COVID easing in Europe, passenger flights between Europe and the USA could increase again from spring. This would then mean additional cargo capacity (PAX). For the time being, however, the effect of the current political easing remains to be seen.

In the direction of South Africa, our "SAB" SENATOR Africa Bridge is also showing a high utilization rate. As before, if no direct booking is currently possible, SENATOR also offers commercial alternatives. Flexible solutions are possible.

At Frankfurt Airport (FRA), the recently tense situation in ground handling has eased considerably. On-site operations are running relatively normally again. In parallel, the first weeks of the pilot project of 1:1 referencing for customs clearance of import shipments have been successful. SENATOR is one of the first forwarders to implement the new system during the first test weeks. What this means for customers is that process handling should become increasingly smooth in the coming weeks.


Last week's stormy lows are causing some problems for exports from Europe to Asia. In the meantime, short-term closures have been lifted again, but the backlog could still affect shipping traffic in the coming days. This affects Hamburg, Great Britain and also the Benelux region. For traffic to the Far East and China, the strict zero covid strategy continues to cause potential delays. According to a recent study by analysis service provider Alphaliner, delay remains a noticeable factor in Asia-North Europe traffic. Travel time has also increased. In the Far East-North Europe trade, ships take an average of 17 days more than announced in the pro forma schedules.

For imports from Asia to Europe, the picture is the same as last time: full ships, rates at a high level. In addition, there is an overbooking situation on several routes due to the Chinese New Year (CNY) and repeated COVID-related lockdowns in Chinese ports. This is increasingly affecting LCL bookings as well. Schedules cannot be kept in many places and there are more and more rebookings. This should also be taken into account for LCL cargoes.

There is still a high demand for export from Europe to North America and Mexico. Available slots are scarce. Ships continue to jam up in front of important ports in the USA. On the route to Mexico, there may be further congestion in the coming weeks due to the use of smaller vessels on "The Alliance" service AL4 and announced port cancellations. This should be factored in for any inquiries.                                                                                    

Last week's severe winter storms may continue to cause delays in barge traffic for some time. For corresponding shipments, the status of the planned journey should be urgently checked in advance.


Russian intermodal operator TransContainer is simplifying rail freight traffic between China and Europe with a unified waybill. The service connects Wuhan in China with the German Baltic port of Mukran (Sassnitz). The use of a uniform CIM/SMGS waybill will speed up clearance. According to company spokesmen, the new system also reduces the number of freight documents and the transport costs incurred (source: railfreight.com).

Following the heavy storms last week, there are delays on many German and European routes. Backlogs have formed due to blocked rail sections. It is not yet clear how long the restrictions will last.

On the SARB (SENATOR Asia Rail Bridge), rates for exports to China are currently favorable. Import rates may also drop a bit in March. Transit times have improved slightly again to around 20 days. For bookings or inquiries please contact directly: railbridge(at)senator-international.com



The capacity situation for Air Freight has improved slightly. More passenger flights mean more PAX options, giving the market some breathing room. Rates have increased slightly early this year. The two airports Guarulhos (GRU) and Viracopos (VCP) in São Paulo are still congested. This results in long waiting times for exports and imports.

For Ocean Freight, ships are full for exports to Europe and South Africa. In the direction of North America, the situation has improved somewhat. The same applies to traffic in the direction of Asia, at least for smaller shipments. High demand from Europe and Asia is driving up prices for imports. This factor should be taken into account with regard to contract negotiations.


In the wake of the G20 summit in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, China's economic authorities have announced measures for "more growth-friendly policies" starting in March. Most recently, monetary policy revisions already took effect: a reduction in the reserve requirement ratio and expanded access to credit for small businesses. Further measures could rebalance the interest rate differential between China and the U.S. somewhat (source: scmp.com).

Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific is suffering extremely from the Covid 19 backdrop. For the beginning of 2022, the airline recorded significant drops in cargo capacity of 21% compared to the same period last year. In terms of passenger traffic, the airline carried less than 25,000 passengers in January. Compared to pre-Covid, this represents a 99.2% decrease. A major reason for this is the strict zero-covid strategy in China, and thus also Hong Kong. For the time being, there is no improvement in sight for the struggling airline (source: freightwaves.com).


Demand remains extremely high for Air Freight. The "SAB" SENATOR Atlantic Bridge from Frankfurt (FRA) to Mexico City (MEX) remains an optimal solution for freight shipments from Europe. Here, too, utilization has increased: plan your bookings as early as possible.

For Ocean Freight, rates in the transfer with Asia have dropped slightly after the Chinese New Year. However, free seats are still in short supply. For shipments from Europe, SENATOR offers an excellent option with its own LCL service. Here, too, bookings should be made as far in advance as possible.


The covid situation in the country has eased further. However, the vaccination campaign is stagnating: to date, just under 42% of the population has been fully vaccinated. This means that the government is well short of its target of vaccinating two-thirds of the population by the end of 2021.

In overland traffic, Botswana has reintroduced stricter protocols for entering the country. As a result, truck traffic is experiencing congestion and delays. There are also noticeable delays at the Beitbridge border crossing with Zimbabwe. The reason for this is extensive road construction work. A new bypass is expected to make traffic much more efficient from the fall of this year.


The US charter airline Atlas Air Worldwide achieved record results in 2021 with rising sales. Revenue was about $4 billion, and net income was about $493 million. In addition, all B747-8F freighter aircraft in service were placed under long-term contracts, further diversifying the customer base. The group also expects a strong performance in the current first quarter of 2022 (source: aircargonews.net).

For Ocean Freight, the U.S. state of California is trying to address congestion at its major container ports. Now the government has leased six off-dock facilities with a capacity of about 20,000 containers. The move, announced Feb. 15, is the latest in a series of measures. The six sites are located northeast of Los Angeles and east of San Francisco. It is hoped that the commissioning of the new facilities will once again provide more space for containers in the currently busy ports (source: theloadstar.com).


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