MARKET UPDATE - APRIL 2021

While the Suez Canal resumed operations on March 29th, the impact of the grounding of the Ever Given vessel has been felt throughout the global supply chain and created some additional capacity issues in an already challenging shipping environment:

Trucking:

  • During the last full week of March, dry van and reefer volumes increased less than 3%, while the flatbed market is facing some of its tightest capacity in history
  • Spot Load Postings for March 2021 increased over 98% compared to those from March 2020
  • Van and Reefer load-to-truck ratios were approximately double in March 2021 as compared with March 2020 (Flatbed ratio was up over 270%), indicating a continued shortage in all equipment types
  • In March, national rates for van rose 11%, flatbed 7% and reefer 9%.  All 3 equipment types reached all-time highs once again.  Dry van and reefer rates leveled off at the end of the month, but flatbed rates rose for the 8th straight week
  • Diesel fuel continues its rise, as it has increased 32% since October 2020
  • Analysts are expecting 2021 to be a bull market for trucking, especially LTL.  As the demand for LTL continues to increase, many shippers are attempting to build up inventory and look for opportunities to shift to FTL where feasible

Ocean:

  • After the opening up of the Suez Canal, shippers and forwarders on either side of the canal face weeks of possible supply chain disruption
  • Rates out of Asia to Europe are expected to surge temporarily as carriers are going to need to blank sailings in response to the Suez Canal blockage, as well as send some routings via the Cape of Good Hope
  • Rates out of Asia to North America saw slight increases.  Carriers have indicated that additional increases may be coming due to the Suez Canal situation and fuel adjustments
  • Rates out of Europe to North America continue to increase.  Supply was already extremely tight across Europe and the Suez Canal situation has only amplified that.  Capacity is expected to remain very limited through at least the end of Q2
  • Rates out of North America to Asia are increasing with a GRI expected in April.  Chassis availability at nearly all US ports and rail ramps remains extremely tight
  • Rates from India to North America are increasing, especially to USEC, primarily due to the Suez Canal delays
  • Booking is recommended at least 5 weeks in advance for Europe to North America
  • Booking is recommended 3 weeks in advance in the following lanes:
    • Asia to Europe
    • Asia to North America
    • India to North America
  • Booking is recommended 10-14 days in advance in the following lanes:
    • North America to Asia
    • North America to Europe

Air Freight:

  • Asia:  The air freight market on all export lanes remains strong.  Rates are at their 2021 peak and expect to remain so for at least the first 2 weeks of April.  Capacity remains very tight on most trade lanes
  • Europe:  There is still quite a bit of demand to Asia and Americas.  There is almost no capacity available before Easter and demand is expected to remain high after Easter as well
  • Americas:  US export capacity remains limited due to lack of belly availability, as many US carriers have delayed the start of transatlantic passenger flights.  Delays are expected to key European destinations, however, capacity is opening in the TPAC Westbound sector

Parcel:

  • Both FedEx and UPS continue to apply the COVID-19 surcharges on international shipments (the costs vary, starting at around $0.10/lb on most shipments, but substantially higher out of places like China and Hong Kong with those continuing to rise)
  • FedEx will continue charging the following Peak Surcharges (effective until further notice):
    • $30 Peak Oversize
    • $3 Peak Additional Handling
    • $0.75 SmartPost Surcharge
  • UPS will also continue charging the following Peak Surcharges (effective until further notice):
    • $31.45 Large Package
    • $3 Additional Handling
    • $0.30 Ground Residential and SurePost Surcharge
  • Due to capacity issues, UPS and FedEx have trended towards limiting or shifting away from certain lower-margin portions of the business and focusing on more profitable accounts
  • DHL eCommerce has been able to secure more and more volume from SurePost and SmartPost
  • The USPS is seeking $40B in investment to allow them to make changes and continue competing in the growing package volumes, as the need for mail services continue to decline
  • While some of the major regional providers such as OnTrac and LaserShip have temporarily staved off new volume, they have performed well during the pandemic and they are expected to experience some additional growth after peak.  A few newer regional providers such as Optima and PCF have been able to accept new volume and should continue to see growth through 2021


Data2Logistics has a dedicated “Professional Consulting Services” team that can help you identify opportunities across all modes.  We provide various services such as data metrics/analytics, market studies, carrier strategy/negotiation, etc…  For more information, please contact Jeremy Levesque at jeremy.levesque@data2logistics.com or 704-992-8016.