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Freight market report – December 2022

Our last freight market report of the year provides multi-modal situation updates and insights, together with China and carrier updates, that will provide you with critical insights for the weeks ahead.

Most Chinese regional supply chains, road transport, air and sea port operations are operating normally, though we have noted a reduction in sea freight volumes for end December and January at Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Ningbo due to blanked sailings.


Container freight spot rates continue to plummet to new depths, amid falling demand with no sign of the market bottoming out and, as some carriers are getting very close to their breakeven levels, it is becoming increasingly critical for them to stop rate erosion.

The reduction in container volumes is easing bottlenecks and port congestion, which is helping to improve transit times and adding further downward pressure on rates.

  • Plunging rates cause panic in the market
  • More blank sailings on the horizon
  • Bunker softening adds to rate erosion
  • IMO2023 could add disruption going into the new year


With Christmas just days away, the traditional peak season has been missed, as demand falls again. Increasingly it looks as if the only things that might slow down rate decline is for belly-capacity to be grounded, or for the market to pickup again.

Overall capacity is sufficient to support demand levels,
particularly as belly capacity continues to increase and with the global downturn expected to continue into 2023, consumer confidence is unlikely to pick-up for some time to come.

  • Airfreight rates continue to soften as the year ends
  • Rates could increase if tonnage removed and volumes increase
  • Volumes remain low, with high inflation to continue into 2023
  • PMI Index indicates low export orders as inventories remain mostly full


European road freight rates hit an all-time high in 2022 as rising cost pressures, supply and capacity disruptions, regulatory change and war in Ukraine created a potent mix of rate drivers, but are beginning to soften after Q3 peak.

The road freight market grew 9.4% in real terms in 2021 and expanded by 4.9% in 2022, and recovery through to 2026 is expected to remain positive, with the market forecast to grow 3% to 2026.

  • Smaller road freight providers likely to suffer most from increases in operating costs
  • Driver shortages remain an acute problem in the European market
  • Road freight market forecast to grow 3% from 2021 to 2026
  • UK rail set to grow in the coming years and should help reduce costs

However challenging the situation, we have the solutions, processes and capability to protect your supply chain, however demanding your needs are.

To discuss any of the issues highlighted here, or to discover the value that PSP Worldwide would bring to your supply chain please EMAIL our managing director, Colin Redman.

We continuously monitor the evolving logistics environment, to share breaking news and developments, so that you can make the informed decisions that will protect your supply chain.