Market Letters

Transpacific Westbound Market Update – Week 46, 2020

Market Conditions:     US Exporters continue to face numerous challenges due to the enormous volume of imports arriving from Asia.   Ocean carriers are demonstrating their preference for US import cargo from Asia and are prioritizing the return of these import containers back to Asia as fast as possible with or without loaded export cargo.

To provide a sense of how this is impacting the export trade community, we wanted share some examples of feedback we are receiving from just a few ocean carriers.

“Just an FYI during the next few weeks we will be repositioning empty equipment overseas to assist with the high import demand. Our laden allocation on all of our services have been significantly reduced in order to adhere to this mandate from Taipei”.

 “Wanted to make sure that you received below GRI announcement for TPWB trade to forward to concerned parties at Laufer and also let you know that space to Asia has been drastically reduced for laden containers. Through end of year it will be very difficult to confirm space for bookings to Asia.  We are accepting bookings to India Sub Con and Middle East currently.”

 “Unfortunately, a ton of bookings are being cancelled right now. There are likely to be significant booking cancellations in November & possibly December because of overall less vessel space due to significant amounts of empty containers we are repositioning back to Asia, as well as the effort to try to get vessels moving off the West Coast more quickly to alleviate the worsening congestion situation. This mandate is coming from HQ, nothing we can do to reinstate bookings right now.”

"[ocean carrier] has cancelled out all TPWB booking’s and will not take any bookings until the second week of January”.

General Rate Increase:   Almost all ocean carriers have announced GRI’s on the Trans-Pacific trade.   These increases range in the below amounts:

20’ containers- $ 80 - $ 500/container

40’ containers - $ 100 - $1000/container

Due to current market conditions we do expect these GRI’s will be implemented.  Carriers at the higher end of the GRI range are telling us that they would rather take empties back to China than accept export cargo at this time.

Ocean Carrier Schedule Reliability:   Per Sea-Intelligence data ocean carrier on-time performance dropped below 50% from Asia to both the USWC and USEC in September.    This decline in carrier service is causing major headaches for US Exporters who continue to struggle with constantly changing Early Return Dates (ERD’s) and carrier rolling and re-booking of cargo.

Chicago LPC Weight Restrictions:    The BNSF rail is aggressively pursuing a light load program for agricultural commodities that ship out of their Logistics Park Chicago facility. They are asking that all agricultural exports be limited to 52,000 lbs. per container. This action will better enable BNSF to maximize resources to meet export demand and improve velocity within the facility.   This measure will be in place through at least January 2021.

Please reach out to your Laufer Sales Representative or booking contact to discuss strategies to get your cargo to Asia prior to Chinese New Year.  The window will be closing fast with Chinese New Year starting in mid-February.

Our #1 priority as always is to help maintain our customers’ competitiveness, to keep your cargo flowing as quickly and as consistently as possible, and to continue to communicate effectively along the way.  Our nimbleness, market awareness, and “Built Different” philosophy enable us to do this - as your partner.


Thank you very much for all your support.