Trendwatch: Container xChange market forecaster: Rising volatility in China’s container market as sellers hold back inventory amid uncertainty; Central and South American air cargo volumes boom in April; Maersk to continue avoiding Red Sea for the foreseeable future

Freight shipping containers at the docks, Stack of containers in a container ship at deep sea port.

Container xChange market forecaster: Rising volatility in China’s container market as sellers hold back inventory amid uncertainty

• ‘Significant volatility in container rates in China, new prices almost every 48 hours’, comments container traders in China

• Container xChange data shows container leasing rates Ex China to US and to Europe continue to rise through April

• Survey: Depots in the US and Europe reported higher utilization rates; equipment usage fees and storage space rental costs increasing for majority of depot owners since the Houthi attacks in November.

Container prices in China are experiencing significant volatility, with rates changing rapidly within just a few days. The average container prices in China have already reached around 2500-2700 USD (40 ft high cube, cargo worthy containers) as a result of rising complications resulting from the geopolitical tensions and uncertainties.


Central and South American air cargo volumes boom in April

Air cargo volumes out of Central and South America (CSA) have taken off in the last few weeks of April ahead of Mothers’ Day celebrations in North America.

Analysis from WorldACD shows that air cargo volumes from CSA increased by 17% week on week in week 17, following on from a rise of 14% in week 16.

The data firm’s figures show that the largest increase was in demand to the US and Canada, with volumes up 48% on a two-week basis.

EU-New Zealand trade agreement enters into force, opening new opportunities for EU exporters

EU businesses, producers and farmers are now able to take advantage of a host of new export opportunities with the entry into force of the EU-New Zealand trade agreement today. The deal is expected to cut €140 million a year in duties for EU companies.

Thanks to this deal, EU-New Zealand trade is expected to grow by up to 30% within a decade, with EU exports potentially growing by up to €4.5 billion annually. EU investment into New Zealand has the potential to grow by up to 80%. This landmark agreement also includes unprecedented sustainability commitments, including respect of the Paris Climate Agreement and core labour rights.

EU farmers will benefit from the elimination of tariffs on key EU exports such as pig meat, wine and sparkling wine, chocolate, sugar confectionary and biscuits. Moreover, the agreement protects the full list of EU wines and spirits (close to 2,000 names), such as Prosecco and Champagne, as well as 163 of the most renowned traditional EU products (Geographical Indications), such as Feta cheese, Istarski pršut ham and Lübecker Marzipan.  Meanwhile, sensitive EU agricultural products such as beef, sheepmeat and dairy products are protected with carefully designed tariff rate quotas.

European Commission


Maersk to continue avoiding Red Sea for the foreseeable future

In an update to customers Maersk said the complexity of the situation in the Red Sea had increased in recent months.

“To safeguard our crew, vessels, and your cargo, we are rerouting around the Cape of Good Hope for the foreseeable future. However, the risk zone has expanded, and attacks are reaching further offshore,” Maersk said.


How Much Will it Cost to Repair Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge?

It will take just over four years and up to $1.9 billion to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge after it was hit by a cargo ship and fell into the Patapsco River, according to an estimate by the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Spokesman David Broughton said that the state plans to build a new span by the fall of 2028. He also said it would likely cost anywhere from $1.7 billion-to-$1.9 billion to rebuild the span after the container ship Dali lost power and slammed into one of the bridge's support columns.


Air Canada abandons plans for two Boeing 767 converted freighters

Air Canada has again scaled back growth plans for its startup freighter division, announcing Thursday it has canceled orders with a vendor to convert two Boeing 767-300 passenger jets into freighters.

The airline took a one-time charge of US$14.5 million for backing out of reservations for production slots at Israel Aircraft Industries, it said in its earnings report for the first quarter.

Air Canada’s freighter airline division is nearly two and a half years old and now consists of eight Boeing 767-300 freighters — six converted passenger jets and two factory models. It had seven aircraft at the end of 2023. The feedstock for cargo conversions came from 767s that were retired from Air Canada’s passenger fleet.


Evergreen and COSCO to transfer giant ships from North Europe to Mediterranean services

Evergreen Marine Corporation and COSCO Shipping Lines will replace 13,000 TEU vessels with 20,000 TEU ships on their jointly operated Far East-Mediterranean service.

The 20,000 TEU ships will be deployed from the companies’ Far East-North Europe services, which will then operate with the 13,000 TEU ships.

Alphaliner’s latest report stated that the tonnage swap between the loops is due to the re-routing of all of OCEAN Alliance’s Far East – Europe services through the Cape of Good Hope to avoid the threat of Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.


American Airlines Cargo announces its summer widebody schedule

American Airlines Cargo is announcing its summer widebody schedule with new routes and increases for the 2024 season.

Out of Europe, the carrier is operating new flights from Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), from Copenhagen Airport (CPH) and Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (NCE) to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), and from Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Some of these seasonal routes started as early as April while others will extend as far as October.