Ocean Freight Update

March 9, 2021

Ocean Freight Update

Aston Chan is our Ocean Product Director based in Hong Kong at Crane Worldwide Logistics. Aston has worked in shipping and logistics for over 30 years and his area of expertise is global ocean freight. 

Aston recently conducted a 'Coffee with Crane' podcast discussing the current ocean freight issues in Asia Pacific and around the world. Here is a brief exert from the recent podcast interview, the full video is available to view below. 

Ocean shipping rates are fluctuating, what can we expect in terms of ocean freight rate levels in 2021?

Our expectation is that ocean freight rates will remain at a high level throughout 2021. However we do not expect to see levels raise to the historical freight rate levels we saw in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic first developed. 

Container imbalance has been widely reported, do you see any improvements in the road ahead?

I do see that the imbalance we have seen in relation to ocean freight container equipment will begin to correct itself. We expect new equipment to hit the market which will support the lack of containers as early as April of this year. 

What can we expect in terms of ocean freight vessel space in 2021? 

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, supply and demand has been very difficult to predict. I believe the situation will continue, not only in 2021, but also for the next few years. Given the high demand for ocean freight capacity, forecasting is critical to ensure space is allocated correctly. As we have seen in the past, rates can fluctuate rapidly and by securing contracted space allocation, this may ease any unexpected freight costs and importantly not disrupt your business in the future. 

The Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ocean Freight

Over the past year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, transportation challenges have highlighted the need for supply chain resilience. Panic buying, air freight capacity shortages, closed borders and more, have impacted our clients operations around the world like never before. In 2020, as manufacturing plants decreased production and inventory in stock was relied upon to boost supply, we are now seeing additional impact to supply chains globally, as demand, particularly for retail goods, increases the pressure for stock replenishment. 

Ocean Freight is experiencing this impact heavily, with congestion at the ports, lack of equipment and increased cost pressures, particularly on the Trans-Pacific trade routes. Disruption to inventories, which has the potential to impact end-consumers, is causing struggles for many companies around the world. 

As highlighted in this podcast, planning is essential to ensure ocean freight capacity is available to you.

Our ocean freight experts are available to discuss your requirements for 2021 and beyond, with additional support of a network of warehouse facilities around the world to support your inventory needs with integrated solutions.

Reach out below to be contacted by one of our sales representatives to learn more.


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