Regular information about developments worldwide

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


Air Cargo volumes have returned to 2019 levels in the first half of 2021. This is according to the latest statistics from industry analyst WorldACD. According to the report, by the end of June, cargo volumes were at the same level as in 2019, increasing by 22% compared to the first half of 2020 (source: aircargonews.net).

Accordingly, the current market situation is unchanged: very high demand, rates tend to increase, capacity bottlenecks on many routes. In the direction of the USA, the "SAB" SENATOR Atlantic Bridge offers a reliable solution. For shipments to and from South Africa, demand is rising again. Background: the current corona situation in the country has eased. The lockdown has been downgraded from level 4 to level 3.

All flight schedules of the self-controlled cargo flights "SAB" can be found here.


Situation remains tense on all routes. For exports from Europe to Asia rates are at a high level, but stable. There is still a lack of sufficient equipment. The shipowners' alliance THEA will leave the port of Jebel Ali in Dubai closed for 8 weeks. As a result, carriers will increase their Middle East rates for August 2021 by another 200 to 250 USD per container.

The situation also remains problematic in the direction of Australia / New Zealand via Port Kelang (Malaysia). Currently, many carriers are not accepting new bookings. In China, the port of Yantian has resumed normal operations. The backlog is still strongly felt. 

Due to port congestion in Hamburg and at other major hubs, special arrangements continue to apply on the part of shipowners:

•    2M is replacing Hamburg with Bremerhaven on the Condor service until mid-August 2021. 
•    MSC currently does not accept cargoes from Hamburg to Australia/New Zealand and the Middle East 
•    Yang Ming and ONE have temporarily suspended their Australia services
For import from Asia to Europe, there is still a lack of equipment in most Asian ports. All bookings should be made as early as possible. Schedule reliability is only 36%. On all east-west trades, the average delay is currently 6 days. 

For export from Europe to North America and Mexico the same picture: capacity bottlenecks, high rates. In addition, for USA there is a shortage of trucks, drivers, railcars and chassis. Ships are jammed in front of important ports (especially on the West Coast). According to forecasts, the current freight rush will continue until 2022. In the direction of South America, demand also remains very high. Bookings should be made about 4 - 6 weeks in advance.


Following devastating rains in China's Henan Province on July 22nd, disruptions are possible on rail services to and from Europe. The terminal in Zhengzhou was briefly under water, and power and Internet connections were interrupted. According to Will Kong, executive vice president of the T.H.I. Railway Business Unit, China-Europe train service through Zhengzhou is operating normally. Possible delays should still be factored in for bookings, however (source: railfreight.com).

China tightens food import regulations. Starting January 1st, 2022, all companies that manufacture, process and store food abroad must be officially registered with the General Administration of Customs in China (GACC) for export to China. The regulation also affects low-risk food manufacturers (source: railfreight.com).



The vaccination campaign continues to make progress. As a result, the economy is also hoping for an early recovery. For Air Freight, the number of passenger flights remains low. This results in capacity bottlenecks for cargo shipments. Freight aircraft that continue to operate are booked out weeks in advance. Exports within Latin America (LATAM) in particular require forward planning or express rates.
For Ocean Freight, rates remain at high levels on all major routes. Exports to North America are the hardest hit. Further, there is a lack of sufficient equipment and especially of available reefer containers.


In the previous week, typhoon "In-Fa" hit mainland China. The Shanghai metropolitan region was also affected. The consequences of the storm have impacted supply chains. The container ports of Shanghai and Ningbo had temporarily closed all terminals. Hundreds of flights were also canceled. In the meantime, the situation has largely returned to normal. However, potential delays should still be taken into account (source: theloadstar.com).


SENATOR Mexico successfully launches SENATOR Gulf Bridge by Ocean Freight. The service connects Tuxpan (Mexico) with Tampa Bay in Florida (USA). This provides a suitable alternative for exports from Mexico to the US East Coast. From Europe to Mexico, the space situation becomes even more critical. Equipment remains in short supply. On the sea route to and from Asia, freight rates remain very high.

By air, the "SAB" SENATOR Atlantic Bridge from Frankfurt (FRA) to Mexico City (MEX) continues to offer an excellent option for shipments from Europe to Mexico and onward for all of Latin America. Gradually, commercial airlines are also increasing their capacity again. The number of PAX flights (passenger flight with cargo option) is increasing.


The severe Corona wave in South Africa has now subsided significantly. The government has downgraded the "Level 4 Lockdown" to Level 3. Schools are open and travel is once again permitted, subject to distance and hygiene rules. 

Following a cyberattack on the parastatal port and rail company Transnet, the operator has been able to repair most of the system. After the attack, it was no longer possible to make requests or bookings for cargo online. According to official information, the system is now available again. Smooth processing is also possible again at the important container ports of Cape Town and Durban. 

In Road Freight Traffic from South Africa to neighboring countries, delays are still to be expected at most border crossings. Background: there is still a lack of health officials to monitor COVID-19 compliant operations.


Trucking services provider USA Truck Inc. reported a 37% increase in revenue in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year. These figures are in line with consistently high demand in the over-the-road segment on U.S. roads. There continues to be a shortage of drivers, vehicles and chassis (source: freightwaves.com).
At the same time, by Ocean Freight, the US container ports are facing the peak season. Market observers expect congestion and waiting times to worsen once again. A total of around 80 container ships are currently waiting at anchor for a berth. No relief is expected until the end of August, especially for the ports on the US West Coast (source: freightwaves.com).


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