As anticipated, the holiday peak season has continued to create capacity issues across the globe, impacting rates and services:


  • Spot Load Postings for November 2020 were almost double those of November 2019, as supply chain disruptions continue to push shipments over to the spot market
  • Load-to-truck ratios decreased in the last week of November as many brokers and carriers took time off for Thanksgiving, however, freight that did move was at a premium
  • National rates for vans and flatbeds in November leveled off but remained at all-time high levels.  Reefer rates continued to climb, gaining another $0.11/mile from October to November
  • Amid the peak holiday season, load-to-truck ratios have climbed back up, putting additional pressure on the spot rate market
  • Many trucking companies, especially in LTL, appear to be at capacity, causing several to shy away from additional business with their larger customers


  • Rates for Asia to Europe and Asia to North America saw an increase at the start of December, partially due to equipment imbalances in Asia.  North America to Asia also realized rate increases due to space constraints at several US ports and inland terminals
  • Capacity remains tight in the majority of lanes, especially out of Asia
  • Booking is recommended 3 weeks in advance in the following lanes:
    • Asia to Europe
    • Asia to North America
    • Europe to North America
  • Booking is recommended 10-14 days in advance in the following lanes:
    • North America to Asia
    • North America to Europe
    • India to North America

Air Freight:

  • Asia:  Rates from Asia to US and Europe remain at very high levels as strong holiday demand continues.  Capacity issues are expected to remain through December.  There is almost no charter capacity remaining
  • Europe:  The market remains quite steady in Europe, with some heavier volumes in the Trans-Atlantic market, especially in support of the automotive industry.  Vaccine charter flights are anticipated over the next few months, potentially taking away some additional capacity
  • Americas:  Many US airline terminals are experiencing congestion due to an increase in charter flights, so some ground delays can be expected.  Capacity to/from Europe and LATAM has reverted to normal scheduling after some challenges during the Thanksgiving holiday


  • The USPS announced their general rate increase, effective January 24, 2021.  While most of the increases are fairly mild, shippers and consumers need to be aware that lightweight e-commerce parcels (Economy “Parcel Select Lightweight”) are going up by almost 19%
  • 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)
  • FedEx and UPS ended their “temporary” peak surcharges, as they have both now implemented their standard 4Q peak surcharges that began in early October and continue through mid-January.  As with 2019, these include additional charges for Additional Handling, Oversize/Large Packages, and Over Max/Ground Unauthorized.  In addition, both carriers added a peak surcharge for Residential Delivery that started in early November and runs through mid-January.  For UPS, those can range as high as $4, and for FedEx, they can reach up to $5 per package
  • FedEx and UPS have both announced their General Rate Increase (GRI) for 2021.  This includes an average of 4.9% on the base rates, as well as increases to the majority of their main accessorials, with most ranging between a 5-10% increase
  • With record volumes from spikes in e-commerce activity, capacity during peak season has dwindled and become increasingly expensive (whether that is from the additional peak surcharges or the need to shift to faster service to ensure timely delivery).  This has led to numerous shippers looking at alternate solutions to manage capacity, such as using regional providers like LaserShip, LSO, and OnTrac.  This has become such a trend that now many of the regional providers have had to turn away volume as well
  • UPS and FedEx have started capping the volumes from some of their larger customers or even asking some to reduce their volume

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 Dan Leva at [email protected] or 973-222-5882.