Freight market report – November 2022
Our latest freight market report provides multi-modal situation updates and insights, together with strike and carrier updates, that will provide you with critical insights for the weeks ahead.
Over 700 Heathrow ground handlers are striking for three days, in a pay dispute, from the 18th November, which will potentially impact cargo flying with Qatar, Virgin, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Emirates.
The dock worker disputes in Felixstowe and Liverpool continue to threaten sea freight operations, and while a deal may have resolved the latter, union members in Felixstowe may take further action.
Strikes continues to impact the rail freight network and it is likely that workers in the public sector will follow suit.
The container shipping lines have implemented significant capacity reductions in response to reduced demand. Despite their efforts, many commentators believe that the lines have not been bold enough, particularly in light of the record-breaking new vessel volumes due for delivery over the next two years, which could create structural overcapacity.
With two good quarters (and not a bad third, due to long-term contracts) the carriers are still highly profitable, but earnings are now dropping from the third quarter and rates are volatile across the board.
- Economic uncertainty is making itself known across the supply chain
- Slack peak season has pulled the plug on runaway freight rates
- Shipment delays are down 19%, but lead times remain high @ 53 days
- North European port congestion has reduced significantly, as ships sail less full
In a bid to slow rate erosion, carrier continue with aggressive blank sailings
The build up to the traditional peak season, that usually sees a sharp increase in demand and rates from Asia between September and October, has not materialised, ending any (slim) hopes of a recovery, to Europe or the US.
Rates on both lanes are down year on year; 14% to Europe and almost a third to the US. However, it should also be noted that rates on both routes remain ahead of 2019 pre-COVID levels.
Further price declines are likely, as the market outlook remains weak, due to inflation slowing consumer spending and belly-hold cargo capacity increasing as passenger flights recommence.
- Volumes remain low, as high inflation is set to continue into 2023
- Transatlantic volumes remain comparatively stronger amidst global volume drop
- Lower sales and high inventory across most sectors
- Modal shift more likely as reliability of vessel schedules improves
Smaller spot and contract rate rises suggest that the market may have adjusted to higher costs, with increasing production costs and decreasing consumer confidence reducing demand-side pressure.
Industrial electricity prices in the UK are up over 500%, with prices increasing 65% in just one month and as the UK heads into winter there is uncertainty over continuity of power, and the threat of power-cut interruptions to manufacturing, is likely to further reduce road freight volumes.
- Rates on many European lanes are beginning to soften after the Q3 Peak
- Softening in rates may continue over the next couple of quarters
- The growth in driver shortages is expected to continue to increase, with a 40% increase in unfilled positions
- The threat of UK Port strikes, though diminished, is affecting drivers and the areas they operate in, causing fluctuations in local availability
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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.
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