Regular information about current developments

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


Corona aid packages from the US government and economic recovery lead to unabated high demand for air freight on the transatlantic market. Capacity bottlenecks continue to prevail for exports from Europe to North America. As a result, the handling situation at central airports such as Atlanta (ATL) or Chicago O'Hare (ORD) is severely impaired. The result: massive delays in the import and export process.

SENATOR INTERNATIONAL operates extra flights (Pax Charter, Full Charter) into the own controlled HUBs Chicago-Rockford (RFD, near ORD) & Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP, near ATL). Congested airports are bypassed. Faster, more reliable, more flexible.

For import from China to Europe, the big boom for importing Corona Test Kits is now waning. However, due to the general demand and capacity situation, rates are still at a high level.

For export from Europe to Latin and South America, capacities are highly competitive. The "SAB" SENATOR Atlantic Bridge from Frankfurt (FRA) to Mexico City (MEX) with 3 flights per week is the best alternative. From Europe to South Africa, the load factor also remains high. Bookings should be made with foresight.


Market situation remains critical. Rates? Remain high. Equipment? Still hard to come by. Ports? Congested in many places. For exports from Europe to Asia, there are currently additional acute problems in the ports of Hamburg and in the Shenzhen area of southern China. 

For the port of Hamburg, several shipping companies are reporting ship cancellations. Maersk, for example, has announced that it will skip Hamburg on the AE7 Asia-North Europe service for the next four voyages. The background: extraordinary waiting times due to non-observance of schedules. Instead, the voyage will then end in Bremerhaven. Please note that containers have to be accepted in Bremerhaven and not in Hamburg. This may result in additional costs accordingly.

In the port of Yantian (Greater Shenzhen), the situation is also deteriorating. After new positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed there, the authorities are taking restrictive action. Processes are out of whack. Significant delays on land and sea. Because terminal providers must implement measures to contain the new Corona cases, congestion and ship delays of more than 14 days are expected at the port of Yantian. From June 6 to 13, 2021, export-laden containers will be accepted at Shekou only 3 days before the ship's ETA. From June 7, export containers loaded in Nansha will be accepted only 7 days before ETA of the ship. The whole region is feeling the effects.

Also Shekou (also Shenzhen Area) with terminals Chiwan, Mawan and Shekou Container Terminal itself, have adjusted measures to ensure safety of personnel. Several shipowners have announced that they will temporarily skip the ports of Yantian and Shekou. This is to keep schedules on time and make up for delays.

For imports from Asia to Europe, the situation remains difficult. This means: full ships, timetables in disarray, departures changed at short notice, delays and traffic jams in the ports. The equipment situation also remains tense. Conversely, this also has an impact on exports from Europe to the Pearl River Delta region.

The situation remains similarly tense for exports from Europe to North America, Mexico and South America. Rates still at a high level, full ships, hardly any free containers. As far as possible, bookings should urgently be made in advance. In Colombia, a strike at the port of Buenaventura is jeopardizing operations. Some carriers have already responded: Hamburg Süd, Hapag Lloyd, MSC and CMA CGM are currently not accepting bookings to Buenaventura. The alternative port of Cartagena is already working at its limit. Congestion and delays are to be expected here.

The situation is also critical for exports from the US East Coast to Europe. There are ship failures at the important ports of Charlston (South Carolina) and Savannah (Georgia). There is a shortage of trucks, Even more critical is the availability of chassis. Accordingly, delays to waiting ships are worsening. At the Greer Rail Terminal (South Carolina), severe congestion is evident. As a result, no bookings are currently being accepted on the rail for export. These factors should also be urgently taken into account for bookings.

After the fire on the damaged container ship X-Press Pearl off Sri Lanka, the consequences for the environment are becoming clear. Shmuel Yoskovitz, CEO of X-Press Feeders, has apologized for the environmental and economic damage. Among the cargo on board were plastic pellets, known as nurdles, which washed up on beaches in large quantities. The pellets are difficult to collect, are easily carried on by the tides, and attract toxins from the water that concentrate in the plastic (source: theloadstar.com).


The Turkish terminal Köseköy near Istanbul is currently advancing to become another hub on the New Silk Road. Background: The Austrian Rail Cargo Group (RCG) and the Turkish Pasifik Eurasia have joined forces. RCG will now transport freight by rail between Europe and Köseköy. Pasifik Eurasia will take over from there. Traffic between Turkey and China will be handled with stops in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, among others (source: railfreight.com).



The vaccination campaign in Brazil is making gradual progress. So far, 23% of the population has received at least the first dose. This also gives some economic hope for improvement.
For Air cargo, there continues to be a shortage of passenger flights (PAX) on which cargo space can be added in the lower deck. This affects imports and exports alike. Rates remain at high levels, especially for exports.
For Ocean Freight, rates continue to rise on almost all routes. Especially on the route from Asia to the East Coast of South America. Bookings for the Brazil to North America route should also be requested as far in advance as possible.


China's imports are achieving growth last seen ten years ago. In May 2021, the rate increased by 51.1% compared to the same month last year. This was the highest growth since January 2011, another indication of the Chinese economy's recovery from the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Exports from the Middle Kingdom also increased. Here, growth was 27.9% (source: scmp.com).

The Cargo airline Hong Kong Air Cargo is currently preparing to expand its scheduled cargo network to Europe. The subsidiary of Hong Kong Airlines had already applied for nine new routes worldwide in December 2020 and received licenses for the flights in early May 2021. In Europe, it plans to fly to two destinations in the future: Liège and Milan. Currently, the route network includes China, Southeast Asia and Turkey (source: aircargonews.net).


With the new Egyptian Customs Law #207 and resulting decrees, the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system for all imports by sea freight to Egypt will come into force on 01 July 2021. Thereby, this effective date applies to arrival of the goods. Currently booked shipments must be recorded and registered accordingly. What is required? The following information must be provided prior to loading:
•    ACID (Advance Cargo Information Declaration) number: 19-digit shipment number
•    VAT number of the importer
•    Exporter Registration: 17-digit alphanumeric number of the exporter.
Without these data no shipment will take place.


For Air Cargo, bookings from Europe, Asia and LATAM should be made with about two weeks' notice. Currently, load factors on the route to/from North America are expected to return to pre-COVID levels shortly. The "SAB" SENATOR Atlantic Bridge continues to serve as the best option for shipments from Frankfurt (FRA) to Mexico City (MEX).
For Ocean Freight, the situation is very complex. Exports from Europe to Mexico should be requested as far in advance as possible (min. 7 weeks). Furthermore, free capacities for imports and exports are scarce.


Following severe financial setbacks caused by COVID-19, South African Airways (SAA) has postponed the start date for its targeted restart from July 1, 2021, to Aug. 1, 2021. The reason for this is apparently the problematic settlement of the piled-up debt load. According to Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises in South Africa, there is agreement in principle on the strategic realignment. However, financial and legal agreements still need to be concluded. However, further bailouts are not necessary, he says.

In the Overland Road Freight sector, traffic volumes for exports from South Africa to northern neighboring countries Botswana and Zimbabwe remain high. Even the reopening of the border post at the Kazangula Bridge has brought little relief. Trucks continue to jam at almost all borders due to stricter controls imposed by COVID-19. For all shipments leaving South Africa by land, delays should still be expected.


In Air cargo, there are new developments in the transportation of pharmaceutical products. United Cargo is the first North American carrier to be licensed to transport temperature-controlled Releye RLP containers. Once approved, United Cargo's portfolio now includes more than 15 container options designed to keep appropriate cargo at precisely controlled temperatures (source: aircargonews.net).

For Ocean Freight, the situation at California ports remains highly problematic. Many container ships continue to jam, with Oakland (San Francisco) now replacing Los Angeles/Long Beach as the epicenter of backups. Maersk, for example, warns shippers that wait times off Oakland are currently up to three weeks.

Delays at West Coast ports have serious implications for schedules. Routings are changed, departures are canceled, because otherwise ships cannot return to Asia on time. For U.S. imports, this means even longer delays, even higher rates and limits on the amount of bookings allowed (source: freightwaves.com).

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