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JAS FLIGHT OPERATIONS has expanded to 3 major air freight corridors:
Now twice per week between USA and EUROPE
Additionally, we continue to offer our SEA-AIR solutions via Singapore and Incheon hubs which are connecting Europe, North and South America with China.
Our Airfreight team is closely watching the market regarding the latest developments and coordinating solutions based on our clients' needs.
Ocean Market Update: February 2021
The Ocean situation remains critical in many trade lanes. Lack of equipment, limited capacity and severe port congestion in multiple countries are all leading to record high freight rates which continue to increase.
The demand for ocean capacity is stronger than ever seen before on most trade lanes, including all lanes out of Asia, Europe to Asia, as well as Europe and the Med to North America. The need to replenish inventories, which continue to be low because of the huge demand, especially in PPE, e-commerce, office supplies, exercise equipment, seasonal supplies, and white goods, are contributing factors to the surge in demand as well as the conversion of airfreight shipments to ocean caused by the huge reduction in airfreight capacity. Conditions will worsen as distribution of the vaccines for the Coronavirus take out a lot more air capacity in the near future.
Despite soaring demand and rising complaints by shippers that they cannot secure space on ships out of Asia, even if they are prepared to pay exorbitant rates, carriers on Asia-Europe and the trans-Pacific have announced a series of canceled sailings. The carriers say the blanks are aimed at recovering schedules that have been heavily disrupted over the past two months by port congestion.
According to Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen “We are implementing a comprehensive schedule recovery plan to get vessels back in their intended positions,” he said. “This will result in some services not having a sailing for one to two weeks. It is important to emphasize that vessels will not be idling at any time and we will perform as many voyages as possible.”
China’s spring festival to celebrate the Lunar New Year begins Feb. 12, and factories traditionally close for up to three weeks after that. But mixed reports are emerging this year from manufacturers in China that factories will either remain open to service backlogs of orders, or close for longer - a very mixed message. On top of the mixed messages about manufacturers closing, the Chinese authorities are implementing strict quarantine requirements for truckers who plan to return to their hometowns during the celebration. This will lead to a huge reduction in truck availability in port cities, for air, as well as FCL and LCL shipments, thus leading to more delays.
Vessel utilization is over 100% on the majority of trade-lanes, with carriers operating rolling pools of at least one week on most lanes. Carriers are full through the end of February and are either not accepting bookings or only offering bookings for premium services which carry a booking guarantee, but at a much higher rate level. But even these premium services are struggling to provide the equipment.
Even if carriers wanted to add new capacity into the markets, it would be extremely difficult as the number of vessels available for charter is very low, with less than 1% (or 230,000 TEU) of the total cellular fleet being inactive.
Relocating equipment from all regions back to Asia continues to be very challenging. Worsening port bottlenecks — especially on the US West Coast, but also being seen in the UK and in some European hubs — are delaying both ships and the pick-up and drop-off of containers, with rolled cargo at trans-shipment hubs further adding to the box unavailability.
Carriers have prioritized empty boxes over export cargo for a long time now. The average extended turnaround time for a container has increased from 86 days to 116-131 days for more than 1.5 million containers in Q3 and Q4 last year.
The equipment and space constraints are forecasted to continue throughout Q2 2021.
Strong demand, coupled with limited equipment availability, continues to drive high rate levels on all trade-lanes. The rate levels are holding firm, but we are seeing a stabilization to the rates and not the large increases that have recently been seen. Expect the high rate levels to continue through Q2.
Due to increased demand, there is now a greater demand for fuel. BAF levels are starting to rise and there will be more increases in BAF in the coming months. Expect Q2 BAF levels to be significantly higher than Q1 2021.
Global schedule reliability continued its downwards trend seen over the past several months, now with an average schedule reliability of only 44.6% in October (down from 76.3% the prior year). Statistically, Hamburg Sud is the most reliable carrier (55.3%) and Yang Ming Line is the carrier with poorest schedule integrity (30.0%).
Delays on individual trade-lanes can be far worse. It is important that these delays are taken into consideration when reviewing your supply chain.
The global average delay for LATE vessel arrivals also increased as well and is now at 5.74 days.
Not only is there severe vessel schedule integrity, but the number of containers being rolled is at an all-time high. Globally, 37% of all containers are being rolled at least once. Of the 20 global ports, 75% saw an increase in the levels of rollover cargo in December compared to the previous month. Major trans-shipment facilities such as Port Klang in Malaysia and Colombo in Sri Lanka recorded 50% or more of cargo delayed, with the world’s largest trans-shipment hub in Singapore, and leading primary ports such as Shanghai and Busan, rolling over more than a third of their containers last month.
Congestion is now a major factor at many ports globally, including ports in the USA, Canada, South Korea, China, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. Congestion challenges will continue for months to come due in part to the increased volumes, the restrictions placed on ports and their workers due to Covid-19 requirements, and missed berthing windows. Again, these delays are also partly responsible for the equipment shortages in Asia as it is taking longer to reposition the containers back to where they are needed most.
Expect the poor reliability to deteriorate even more as we move through the winter months and bad weather hampers on-time performance.
All vessels are 100% utilized with a roll-over pool established.
Equipment shortages, strong demand, and soaring rates on Asia-Europe continued with no sign of easing market conditions after the Chinese New Year (CNY). Orders remain strong through March.
Spot rates from China to the Mediterranean have stabilized at levels of approximately $8,600 per 40’ - an increase of 264% over same time last year
The average spot rate to ship a container from China to North Europe is currently hovering at $4,394 per TEU, up 376% from Oct. 1 and 353.5% year-over-year, according to the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI). Even at these levels, cargo is being rolled. For cargo going to the UK, carriers have implemented Port Congestion Surcharges making rates above US$12,000 / 40’. Carriers are also omitting calls into the UK due to the severe congestion and backlog.
The critical Asia to Dubai benchmark surged by $1920 between December 2020 and January 2021 to stand at $5010 per 40’ - an increase of 62% MoM.
Expect rates to continue to increase in February and into March.
Huge congestion problems are evident in Australia caused by union delays and a massive increase in volumes.
Expect spot rates to continue increasing on the Far East-Australia trade in February as Australia’s pent-up demand is still being serviced and ports implement more congestion surcharges. Ship utilization of around 90% is yet another factor which indicates the prevalence of acute space crunches on vessels.
On the Trans-Pacific Eastbound lanes, carriers are implementing extra sailings, but this has not reduced the backlog of rolled containers in Asia. The continuous cargo flux at Chinese ports has led spot rates on this trade to reach record-high levels. The monthly Transpacific Eastbound Index increased by 18% to reach $5438 per 40’ box in January. Expect rates to stabilize in February and into March. Cargo volumes from Asia to North America strengthened by 24% and 29% in October and November respectively. January forecasts on the TPEB trade are currently indicating a 27.3% year-on-year volume increase. There is massive port congestion on the US West Coast, with Los Angeles seeing the worst of it as volumes surge. Currently there are 41 container ships at anchor in Los Angeles awaiting a berth at the terminal with over 300,000 TEU on board. Also expect delays on Intermodal points in the US as rail carriers are struggling to reposition their rail cars back to where the cargo is. Chassis’ are also in short supply. Allow at least an additional 10+ days for cargo availability once vessels arrive.
The Transpacific westbound index increased by 4% to reach $1,184 per 40’ box in January. Expect rates to remain stable in February. Although rates edged up slightly in January, they are still 4 times lower than eastbound rates. This has prompted carriers to ship empty containers back to Asia as quickly as possible rather than wait for loaded returns, thus allowing them to turn containers quicker in Asia. Subsequently US exporters are struggling to find equipment. Please also be aware that due to the delays on the inbound vessel, outbound departures are also being severely delayed.
There are no reductions in capacity on the LATAM trades - on either of the WCSA and ECSA trade lanes. Vessels are 100% full and bookings remain strong through early March. As with most trades, bookings must be made at least 3 weeks in advance. We are seeing some more stability in the rate levels over the next several weeks with few increases. But as with all trades, shippers are paying an extra premium to ensure space on ships.
The traditionally stable Intra-Asia continues to see rate volatility. The critical shortage of 40’ empties in January was the worst ever. The situation is so grave that shippers are having to pick up empties from container yards across China, leading to high extra costs. The trade surplus in Intra-Asia is so acute that there are three containers going out for every one that comes in. Additionally, port congestion worsened at many major Asia ports, clogging the container flow. Expect rates to continue to increase.
Ahead of CNY, capacity on the Intra-Asia lanes fully deployed and is fully utilized, but there are and will be many full containers yet to be transported.
There are some blanked sailings ex Europe to Asia due to the initial blanked sailings on the Head Haul leg. These blanked sailings will slowly be reduced as there are limited blanked sailings from Asia.
With a similar equipment situation in Europe, shippers are struggling to find equipment to fill orders and low paying cargo is being left behind.
Europe Eastbound rates will continue to increase in February
Volumes continue to surge in this trade-lane leading to 100% vessel utilization and some rollings. Rates will be stable through Q1 2021 but expect increases for Q2 as carriers continue to see high utilization.
As with all trades, ensure that bookings are made at least 3 to 4 weeks prior to departure. There will be a limited blank sailing program continuing in Q1 as carriers try to adjust for vessel delays.
The Transatlantic westbound index increased in January reaching nearly $3000 per 40’ box. The recovery in head haul volumes moving across the Atlantic from North Europe has been slower than other major East-West trades. A shortage of boxes along with adjusted capacity will further strengthen spot rates in 1Q 21.
From the Med it is a similar situation as from Northern Europe to North America; vessels are almost at full capacity and strong demand through February. The equipment shortage does appear to be weakening and becoming more available.
The JAS World Ocean Team is working diligently with all core partners to meet customer requirements. It is imperative forecasts are provided to our local offices to allocate our space properly. Please consider utilizing our LCL services which will allow to ship at lower costs and alleviate equipment problems.