Industry Update – October 2023

Attention: Shipping Manager

Import assessment delays at Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry:

The department has advised that the assessment of import documentation of non-urgent commodities will come under further pressure in the short to medium term. High volumes of entry lodgments continue to be received and the department expects this trend to continue with the commencement of the 2023-24 Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) season. The department anticipates that it will continue to meet the published service standards timeframes for urgent commodities.  Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) workload remains at high levels and is expected to increase in the lead up to the traditional Christmas peak.

Renewed focus on mis declared Lithium-ion cargo:

New cargo safety measures have been launched aimed at reducing the risk of fire on board vessels.  Mis-declared shipments have been identified by safety experts as one of the most common causes of vessel fires.  There have been 64 reported fires on containerships in the past five years, with fire-related incidents at sea increasing by over 17% from 2021 to 2022.  Lithium-ion batteries are one of the leading causes of containership fires and are believed to be the cause of a recent blaze on a vessel carrying 3,000 cars from Germany to Egypt.  A new system will be implemented for cargo screening and inspections, comprising of a common screening tool, verified shipper database and a database of approved container inspection companies.

(Source: Loadstar)


Situation in USA:

  • Panama Canal reduces daily transits further as drought continues

The Panama Canal Authority has announced further reductions to the number of daily transits as the drought persists.  Faced with unprecedented drought this year, something that has been compounded by the arrival of the El Nino weather phenomenon, the canal authorities have recently slashed daily transit by 20% to just 32 ships a day, as well as shaving off nearly 2m in the maximum draft for the waterway’s larger neo-panamax locks. This has caused significant ship queues to form at either end of the waterway.

As of 1st November, new rules will be implemented seeing daily crossings reduced to 9 ships passing through the neo-panamax lock and 22 through the Panamax lock, while transit reservation quotas will be adjusted to a maximum of 30 per day.

(Source: Splash247/Reuters)


  • LTL trucking carriers experiencing possible cyber-attack

Some trucking companies in the US have reported significant technology outages over the weekend. At this stage, it is not immediately clear whether it was caused by a cybersecurity breach or an internal failure of technology.  Experts are currently working to resolve the outage, but in the meantime, delays are expected.

(Source: Freight waves)


Situation in Asia:

  • Golden Week Blank Sailings for Asia to Europe

October sailings from Asia to Europe are being cut to below-demand levels in a final attempt by carriers to push up rates before the start of the slack season.   Multiple blank sailings have been announced around the Chinese Golden Week holiday commencing the first week of October and through to the end of the month.  This could ultimately result in shippers and forwarders struggling to find space for exports from China to Europe during October.

(Source: Loadstar)


Situation in Europe:

  • European haulage spot rates down

European road freight spot prices have dropped below contract rates for the first time in six years – with suggestions the floor has yet to be hit.  Meanwhile, carriers know that unless they ‘stop the rot’ now, and start to push rates back up, the next opportunity to significantly raise prices will be in the build-up to the Chinese New Year, next February.

(Source: Loadstar)


General Rate Increase from NEA to AU and NZ:

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

Effective from 15th October 2023:

USD 150/20’

USD 300/40’

LCL will increase accordingly.


General Rate Increase from SEA/India Sub Continent/Middle East to AU and NZ:

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

Effective from 15th October 2023:

USD 125/20’

USD 250/40’

LCL will increase accordingly.


Destination Airline Cargo Automation Fee Increase:

Destination Airline Cargo Automation Fee applicable for airfreight cargo coming into Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide will increase effective immediately. The new surcharge will be:

AUD 25 per HB

We will keep you updated with further information.