Industry Update – November 2023

Situation in USA:

  • More imports shift back to Pacific ports

Momentum has shifted yet again in the tug-of-war between US West Coast and East Coast Ports. Imports are starting to shift back to Americas Pacific gateways.  East and Gulf Coast ports increased their market share in the years prior to the pandemic as the expanded Panama Canal allowed more cost-effective shipping service to Eastern states, which boast the highest population of consumers.  Cargo flows then shifted toward Los Angeles and Long Beach on the West Coast in the early stages of the pandemic, due to shorter transit times. Then, after congestion clogged those ports, the pendulum swung back to the East. That trend was accelerated in the first half of this year by concerns over West Coast port labour unrest.

As the labour issue is now resolved, Panama Canal water levels are restricting capacity utilization on transiting container ships bound for East and Gulf Coast ports, and both spot rate data and import data imply the West Coast is regaining some lost ground.

(Source: Freightwaves)


  • Panama Canal slashes capacity

 After its driest October on record, the Panama Canal will severely restrict transit capacity to conserve water. The Shipping Industry will feel the effects of this in coming months, with different vessel types facing different repercussions.

(Source: Freightwaves)


Situation in Europe:

  • UK hauliers see biggest freight rises in almost a year

Road freight rates in the UK have seen their biggest increase in almost a year. Rates in the UK have climbed 3.3%, month on month, last month being the steepest rise since December 2022.  Part of the reason for this is rising fuel prices, as well as the reintroduction of clean air charges and higher business charges.

(Source: Loadstar)


Situation in Asia:

  • War in Israel

 Two key shipping choke points are potentially at risk if the war in Israel expands beyond the country’s borders. The Suez Canal, a key waterway for all types of commercial vessels, including container ships, is an example of an “open choke point,” i.e., one that ships can go around. If the canal is ever shut by a regional conflict, ships can take the longer route around Africa, reducing available vessel capacity, a positive catalyst for shipping rates.  Israel itself is a small market for container shipping. Israel’s main ports of Ashdod and Haifa handle only 0.4% of global throughput. The threat of disruptions to the container trade flow through the region remains limited.

The Port of Haifa has prohibited all dangerous goods for all new movements. Acceptance has now ceased for dangerous goods bookings bound for Haifa and Izmir Ports. The Port of Ashdod also has dangerous goods restrictions in place for specific items.

(Source: Freightwaves)

  • Airlines warned of high risks operating in warzone

 Security remains a key issue in Tel Aviv following the deadly attacks earlier this month, as the airport remains open to traffic. Many airlines have changed daily flights to avoid crew having to stay overnight in Israel.  Several airlines are also yet to lift their suspension of flights to and from Israel’s main air hub.

An aviation information platform has warned that flying in the area is high-risk, while Israel’s aviation authority has advised airlines still flying in its airspace to carry extra fuel as delays are to be expected.

(Source: Loadstar)

  • Suez Canal fee hikes

 Container shipping lines are set to see another spike in costs next year after the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced that it would increase fees on northbound transits by 15%. The same hikes, which will take effect on 15th January 2024, also apply to all other vessel types, except ro-ro ships, which will be subject to a 5% increase.   The increases will not apply to eastbound vessels returning to Asia whose last port of call was at the Straits of Gibraltar (namely Algeciras and Tanger Med) or before.

(Source: Loadstar)


Air cargo normalising:

Air cargo markets continue to move towards normalisation post-Covid and, while the watchword for 2024 is caution, it should be an improving picture as next year unfolds.

(Source: Loadstar)


General Rate Increase from NEA to AU and NZ:

We received notifications this month from some shipping lines in regards to two separate General Rate Increases from North East Asia to AU and NZ, details as follows:

The first GRI will come into effect from 1st November 2023:

USD 100/20’

USD 200/40’

LCL will increase accordingly.

In addition to the first GRI, shipping lines will have a second GRI effective from 15th November 2023.

USD 100/20’

USD 200/40’

LCL will increase accordingly.


General Rate Increase from SEA to AU:

We received notifications this month from some shipping lines in regards to a General Rate Increase from South East Asia to AU, details as follows:

Effective from 15th November 2023:

USD 100/20’

USD 200/40’

LCL will increase accordingly.


Industrial Action continues at DP World Terminals

DP World today have announced members of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) have, despite efforts to reach an understanding, outlined a further series of work bans and stoppages up to and including Monday 20 November.
Impacted Locations and Actions

  • Brisbane: Bans on the performance of overtime, shift extensions, loading or unloading trucks, and more.
  • Sydney: Bans on the performance of upgrades on day and night shifts, ban on working nominated shipping lines, and more.
  • Melbourne: Bans on the performance of upgrades, shift extensions, upgrades, and more.
  • Fremantle: Bans on the performance of overtimes, extensions, upgrades and more.

(Source: FTA)


Introduction of PONDUS weight amendment fee in Adelaide: 

We have been notified that Adelaide Container Park Terminal will be introducing a PONDUS weight amendment fee of AUD 278.85, effective from 4th December 2023.  This will apply to all containers determined by the PONDUS Stand to have a weight variance of greater than +/- ONE METRIC TONNE of the documented VGM (Verified Gross Mass) weight.


Fremantle Destination Sideloader Levy Fee Increase: 

Destination Sideloader Levy Fee in Fremantle has increased to AUD 115 per container, effective immediately.

We will keep you updated with further information.