Logistics and Supply Chain Trends – September 2023

Panama Canal’s Water Level Impact on Ocean Freight Diversity

The Panama Canal is encountering lower water levels, necessitating a reevaluation of ocean freight routes. Diminished water levels are curbing ship carrying capacity, possibly leading to delays and elevated expenses. This dynamic has prompted shipping entities to explore alternative routes, spotlighting the necessity for adaptable supply chain strategies. 

Pioneering Wind-Powered Cargo Ships by Cargill and Bartech

Cargill and Bartech are trailblazing wind-powered cargo vessels in response to ecological concerns. These ships, engineered to harness wind energy, hold the potential to substantially curtail carbon emissions and environmental impact within the shipping sector. This inventive approach underscores a mounting commitment to sustainable transportation solutions, underscoring the sector’s contribution to addressing climate change. 

Ocean Freight Overview– September 2023

Key 
++ Strong Increase 
+ Moderate Increase 
= No Change 
 Moderate Decline 
 Strong Decline 

Outbound

Middle East – North America

Volatile rates and tighter space from the Gulf may impact transit times. 

Capacity — (+) 

Rate — (=) 

Middle East – Asia

Capacity increasing month over month; rates generally remain flat to down. 

Capacity — (+) 

Rate — (=/-) 

Middle East – Europe   

Despite being a significant volume origin, ample space is available. 

Capacity — (=) 

Rate — (=) 

Middle East – Latin America    

Latin America poses challenges with flat to down rates and variable transit times at transshipment points. 

Capacity — (+) 

Rate — (-) 

Inbound Updates  

Asia – Middle East (H4)   

Tight space leads to stable rates throughout the month.  

Capacity — (=) 

Rate — (=) 

North America – Middle East    

Regular blank sailings from South Atlantic Port tightens space, but more options emerge on the Northeast Coast. Capacity improving outside US West and Gulf coasts.  

Capacity — (=) 

Rate — (=) 

Latin America – Middle East  

Relatively stable trade lane, but equipment shortage from Colombia. High demand leads to vessel bookings weeks ahead for North Europe services. 

Capacity — (=)  

Rate — (=) 

Europe – Middle East (H4)     

A stable trade lane with open space, capacity and spot rates remains flat month after month. 

Capacity — (=) 

Rate — (=) 

Air Freight Updates – September 2023

Demand: Volumes remain stagnant due to high inflation, excess inventories, and reduced purchasing power. A modest increase is anticipated in the upcoming peak season.  

Capacity: Current capacity meets demand. Belly capacity improves due to increased travel demand. Global capacity is up 12% from last month, without significant backlogs.   

Rates: Market rates are competitive with slight increases in some trade lanes. Long-term rates should stabilize in Q4 2023. 

The Middle East and Air Carriers

In June 2023, Middle East carriers displayed a notable resurgence, with cargo volumes experiencing a 0.5% upturn compared to the previous year. This marked a robust recovery from the 2.9% year-on-year decline observed in May 2023. Concurrently, capacity demonstrated substantial growth, expanding by 11.1% during the same period. 

Promisingly, both Middle East-Europe and Middle East-Asia routes exhibited annual growth. However, it is noteworthy that cargo demand for the initial half of 2023 encountered a decline of 5.6% in comparison to the previous year, despite a commendable capacity upsurge of 11.2%. 

Asia   

The ongoing summer holidays have led to a considerable infusion of passenger capacity in the Asian sector. Regrettably, ad-hoc removal of freighter capacity is underway due to ongoing c-checks. 

Persistently, demand remains subdued and lacks vigor during the traditional slack season. This prevailing trend is poised to persist throughout September 2023, foreseeably experiencing a slight uptick toward the conclusion of the third quarter. 

Projections suggest a continuum of relatively stable rates until the end of the year. However, the potential for shifts in peak season demand looms, potentially influencing rate trajectories. Given the prevailing subdued demand juxtaposed with the expansion of indirect passenger capacity, the possibility of recurrent freighter cancellations remains pertinent. 

America

Stable US export demand aligns with available capacity. US-Asia capacity diversion to accommodate the cherry season in California and Washington may impact other routes. Q4 might see capacity adjustments due to reduced passenger travel. In Mexico, cargo-only aircraft relocation from AICM-MEX to AIFA-NLU, as directed by the government, triggers operational challenges. The relocation deadline is extended to September 1, 2023. 

In Latin America, abundant capacity in major trade routes due to reduced demand leads to competitive spot pricing. Contract rates are stable. Low season for perishables reduces northbound cargo demand. Ample southbound capacity from Miami offers aggressive spot pricing for shippers. 

Europe

Across Europe, Transatlantic capacity and demand retain their equilibrium, underpinned by consistent, subdued demand. This stability extends to European and United States exports. Notably, passenger aircraft capacity has peaked for the ongoing travel season, offering cost-saving prospects in the context of reduced demand. 

A cautionary aspect arises from EUROCONTROL, which oversees European airspace. It has signaled the possibility of air-traffic control labor strikes during the summer, carrying the potential to impact the entire region.  

Shipping News – United Arab Emirates – September 2023

The CMA CGM Group has introduced new peak season surcharges, starting September 17th, 2023. This strategic move is aimed at enhancing the reliability and efficiency of services for customers. Learn More 

The Dubai Maritime Authority (DMA) has enacted Administrative Decision No. 2 of 2023, delineating local sea container charges in Dubai. Read more details

Swire Shipping has made a notable advancement, enabling the transportation of electric vehicles within containers, subject to adherence to the IMDG Code and additional specified requirements. Read details here

Maersk UAE has taken proactive strides by launching an interactive live chat platform, facilitating seamless customer engagement for queries pertaining to exports and imports. Their dedicated operational hours span from 7am to 9pm (Monday to Friday) and 8am to 5pm (Saturday).  Read More 

Swire Shipping has instituted rigorous compliance measures for seamless exports from the Middle East. The BL shippers are requested to fulfill a sanction check questionnaire.  

DP World has unveiled forthcoming tariff adjustments for Jebel Ali Port and Mina Rashid, set to take effect from November 1st, 2023. This strategic decision is emblematic of their commitment to operational excellence. Read More 

Maersk, in adherence to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requirement, has initiated flexi bag approval verification. For nuanced insights applicable to this obligation, their dedicated teams are available. Import and cross-trade queries can be directed to ae.import@maersk.com, while export inquiries can be addressed via ae.export@maersk.com.  

Global Factory Output – Overview September 2023

The World Container Index (WCI) decreased by 3.5% and valued at USD1,768.33 for the last week of August 2023 for 4-ft containers.  

United States of America (USA)

In August 2023, the S&P Global US Composite PMI dipped to 50.4, below the anticipated 52.0, signaling weaker growth in the private sector. Manufacturing activity notably declined, and service sector growth slowed. Initial contraction in new orders in six months and reduced job creation attributed to inflation and high interest rates. Backlogs dropped at the fastest rate since May 2020. Input costs surged due to fuel, wage, and raw material expenses, though selling price inflation slowed. Despite challenges, US companies remained positive about future output due to stable interest rate expectations, rising client demand, and easing price pressures. 

United Kingdom (UK)

In August 2023, the S&P Global/CIPS UK PMI dropped to 47.9 from July’s 50.8, below the expected 50.3. This marked the most significant contraction in the UK’s private sector since January 2021, driven by a sharp decline in the service sector, fastest in 31 months, and prolonged manufacturing downturn for six months. New business inflows dropped substantially, and work backlogs decreased quickly. Private sector employment saw a slight increase, albeit at its slowest pace since March. Price dynamics showed slower cost and price inflation. Business confidence for future growth hit its lowest point since December 2022. 

China

In July 2023, the Caixin China General Composite PMI exhibited a decline to 51.9 from June’s 52.5. This signified the seventh consecutive month of expansion within the private sector, albeit at a slower pace than that observed since January. In a noteworthy divergence, the manufacturing segment underwent contraction for the first time in three months, while the service sector continued its growth trajectory for the seventh successive month. Importantly, the increase in new orders was the most modest in six months.  

Notable contrasts emerged as service providers experienced heightened sales growth, whereas factory orders contracted for the first time since April. Employment trends indicated a slight increment for the second consecutive month, spearheaded by the service sector, although manufacturers continued to reduce staffing. On the pricing front, marginal increases were recorded in input costs, while output charges sustained their decline for the fourth successive month. 

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

In July, the UAE’s non-oil economy showed a slight moderation in strength, with slower new business and output growth compared to June’s four-year high. The PMI reading of 56.0 indicated a healthy sector, driven by improved market conditions, strong customer demand, and job creation. Firms’ optimism for future growth remained high, despite a reduction in input costs leading to lower selling prices and increased stock levels. The data suggests continued expansion in the UAE’s non-oil sector for the latter half of the year, although a sustained decline in sales growth could signify the peak of demand. 

Global Interesting News – September 2023 

Freight News

Air

Air Force invests $235M in sustainable aircraft startup JetZero Read More 

AI in airfreight: It’s already in the name Read More 

Finavia pilots hydrogen fuel at Helsinki Airport Read More 

Airfreight prices fall moderately Read More 

Canadian North doubles cargo facility at YOW Read More 

Swissport DUS Cargo to rely on Cargospot Read More 

IAG, Microsoft co-fund purchase of 14.7K tonnes of SAF Read More 

DB Schenker relies on dogs for detection at LHR Read More 

Niger airspace closure prompts air cargo diversions, cancellations Read More 

Tallinn Airport takes off into new horizons with real estate development Read More 

WFS invests in fifth, new-build cargo terminal in Madrid to provide growth capacity Read More 

Etihad Cargo ramps up cargo capacity for China Read More 

Reshaping regional cargo dynamics Read More 

Chapman Freeborn announces Aviation Emergency Services Read More 

Airblox platform announces partnership with Avianca Cargo Read More 

FL Technics to establish 20 000 sq. m. hangar in Punta Cana Read More 

Brussels Airport ships 48,000 tonnes of cargo Read More 

London Gatwick’s sustainable growth plans accepted for ‘examination’ Read More 

Oman Air announces major transformation plan Read More 

Avianca Cargo boosts the Brazilian air cargo market Read More 

Freighter airline Raindo United Services gains AOC Read More 

Cargo operations disrupted at Namibia’s Hosea Kutako Airport Read More 

Hong Kong International cargo volumes continue to recover Read More 

AFRAA to Join Focus Africa Initiative Enhancing Aviation’s Economic Contribution to the Continent Read More 

Strong First Half of the Year Ends on a Positive Note for the Industry Read More 

Improving Air Traffic Management in Asia-Pacific. Also: Cargo Contraction Eases & Looking At Baggage Tracking Read More 

Qantas orders 12 more Boeing 787 Dreamliners Read More 

Cargo-focused airports outpace peers with passenger traffic Read More 

Amazon, FedEx and United Airlines join Hawaiʻi fire recovery efforts Read More 

TIACA Launches Air Cargo Forum 2024 with a New Partnership Read More 

Oman Air Cargo Continues to Achieve Sustained Growth with a 42% Increase in Volumes for H1 2023 Read More 

Omni Logistics and Forward Air merge services across US, Canada and Mexico Read More 

Qatar Airways Cargo offers customers real-time price with PROS’ solution Read More 

Etihad Cargo arrives at Ezhou Huahu Airport Read More 

Indonesia’s Express Cargo Airlines starts operations Read More 

Bolloré expands in Africa with Qatar’s Kigali hub Read More 

WFS to open fifth cargo terminal in Madrid Read More 

Etihad Cargo adds new freighter route to Guangzhou Read More 

Etihad Cargo operates inaugural freighter flight to Ezhou Read More 

Ocean  

Europa Air & Sea expands into India Read More 

Asia-North Europe rates sinking again as GRIs ‘run out of steam’ Read More 

Panama Canal problems may prompt strategy re-think in shipper boardrooms Read More 

Container lines look set to be sailing in ‘choppy water’ Read More 

Zim pulls Asia-Australasia services to launch VSA with MSC Read More 

OOCL reports a ‘robust’ H1 performance as demand see-saws Read More 

More blanked voyages and a ‘newbuild elephant’ approaching the room Read More 

Transatlantic carriers must change course and rethink expansion plans Read More 

Asia-US container spot rates keep rising amid more blank sailings Read More 

Maersk company set do deliver offshore charging facilities for UK carrier Read More 

Port of Hamburg has handled more containers since turn of the year Read More 

Carriers hold fast to trans-Pac capacity cuts amid unclear import demand Read More 

Revamped Southeast chassis pool to charge ‘penalty fee’ to unregistered users Read More 

Russia’s ghost ships and the evolution of a grain-smuggling operation Read More 

Second merchant ship departs Ukraine using new corridor Read More 

There’s more coal being shipped by sea than ever before Read More 

POLA and POLB July volumes see annual declines Read More 

US Coast Guard Joins Papua New Guinea Maritime Security Operation Read More 

Ukrainian, Turkish Foreign Ministers Say Black Sea Deal Must be Renewed Read More 

CMA CGM implements new surcharge in Turkish port Read More 

CMA CGM applies new FAK rates from Med to US East Coast & US Gulf Read More  

Latest data is ‘a wake-up call’ for shippers, as Xeneta argues now is the time to negotiate long-term rates Read More 

Hapag-Lloyd increases rates from India’s West Coast to US West Coast Read More 

MSC junks India-US rate push as market stays soft despite peak season expectations Read More 

Hapag Lloyd increases rates from UAE to North Europe, West Med and North Africa Read More 

SCFI rises for second consecutive week as North America rates increase Read More 

Hapag Lloyd implements new peak season surcharge from East Asia to North America Read More 

Absolute zero-focused North Star to power vessels using offshore wind Read More 

South Korea takes the next step forward in autonomous shipping Read More 

COSCO and Sinopec venture readies LNG carrier orders Read More 

Mississippi River Careens from Floods to Low Water, Threatening Barge Traffic Read More 

China Passes Greece as Top Shipowning Nation by Gross Tonnage Read More 

Spanish Government grants APM Terminals Barcelona 3.9 million euros for Straddle Carrier electrification pilot project Read More 

Maersk company set do deliver offshore charging facilities Read More 

ONE overtakes Evergreen as the world’s sixth largest container carrier Read More 

Box freight rates face summer lull Read More 

Panama Canal Authority extends water restrictions Read More 

Dubai Maritime Authority launches rights awareness campaign to protect traders and cargo owners Read More 

AD Ports Group launches comprehensive programme to enhance customer experience Read More 

Jeddah Islamic Port records highest monthly container throughput in July Read More 

Ground

Germany and Italy splash out in a bid to shift more cargo from road to rail Read More 

Omni Logistics purchase to expand Forward Air’s LTL, global reach Read More 

Averitt Express staying elastic amid LTL volume surge Read More 

Port-bound rail volumes approach prestrike levels in Canada Read More 

Borderlands: Mexico’s truckers plan nationwide strike, blockades Read More 

Truckload capacity tightens in August Read More 

Rail trade group says federal safety hotline could be misused Read More 

Falling grain exports will affect US railroads’ capacity needs, expert says Read More 

STG Logistics plans to expand intermodal network in Canada Read More 

New Orleans Public Belt Railroad completes France Road rail yard expansion Read More 

Railroads, car haulers scramble to meet auto delivery demands Read More 

Tracking the speed, dwell and cars of Class I railroads Read More 

Export of Railway Goods Wagons in the United States Sees a Modest Rise to $54M in June 2023 Read More 

US trucking firm Yellow files for bankruptcy, blasts Teamsters Read More 

Truck driving shortage impacting cost of goods Read More 

France: road transport prices increased sharply in July Read More 

Will Cross- Border Trucking Boost the Economy? Read More 

Ashley’s Trucking Fleet Keeps Furniture Moving Read More 

Other

CEVA Logistics to expand presence in India Read More 

‘Shippers are Clearly Not Happy’ with Freight Rates, Expert Says Read More 

DP World to spend half a billion dollars on new terminal in India Read More 

Chinese ports brace for Typhoon Kanu Read More 

‘Reglobalisation’ Trends Emerge in Port Call Data Read More 

Walmart posts strong quarterly results, lifts guidance Read More 

Cross-border risk management helps companies win nearshoring game Read More 

Walmart aims for sustainable clothing in its supply chain Read More 

How food freshness sensors could impact supply chains Read More 

The Global Agricultural Robots Market is estimated to be worth $30K Million by 2032 Read More 

Arkansas could be the Future of US Lithium Production Read More 

Retailers Gearing Up for Halloween Earlier Than Normal Read More 

Maersk aims to handle all cargo by means of artificial intelligence Read More 

Companies Put AI to Work Outside the Cloud, Trimming Costs Read More 

Why Can’t U.S. Ports Get Automated? Read More 

SGL to integrate AI-supported software into its products Read More 

CEVA Logistics to Acquire Stellar Value Chain Solutions in India Read More 

Yusen Logistics Becomes a Member of Smart Freight Centre Read More 

Saudia Cargo expands European Services with Jan de Rijk Read More 

C.H. Robinson Profit Tumbles on Weak Freight Market Read More 

Hapag-Lloyd and three other companies submit bid on HMM Read More 

DHL reports of increased demand for green solutions Read More 

Maersk company has violated merger rules and faces fine Read More 

Carriers urged to cut more capacity ahead of China’s October Golden Week Read More 

Online shoppers want information about sustainability of shipping options Read More 

4 Ways AI Can Help Food and Convenience Distributors Read More 

How AI is Revolutionising Workflow Orchestration Read More 

Retailers are preparing for a discount-heavy, down holiday season: CNBC survey Read More 

Subsidy zero-emission van stops – AanZET will be adjusted Read More 

Tristar issues 11th Annual Sustainability Report highlighting ESG achievements Read More 

Saudia Cargo, Jan de Rijk Co. ink strategic agreement to expand European services Read More 

3PL News

Cosco Shipping to deliver from European yards to Chinese doors Read More 

How parcel shippers are leveraging accurate SKU data to save millions Read More 

Walmart, Alphabet’s Wing partner on Dallas drone delivery Read More 

Target’s operating profit leaps 273% after long battle against inventory Read More 

Staples taps DoorDash for same-day delivery Read More 

Tesla enhances auto parts distribution with New York facility Read More 

Parcel delivery provider Sendle speeds up shipping services Read More 

How top 3PLs are Automating Warehouse Cross Docking Read More 

Onboard Logistics Partners With Raft to Pioneer New Levels of Warehouse Automation with AI Read More 

Time to Put the Optimization into Inventory Optimization Read More 

Kwik Opens KwikShelf Fulfillment Warehouse in Nigeria Read More 

Evri Rolling Out E-Cargo Bikes in More U.K. Cities Read More 

Olympia Consolidates 12 DCs Into Three Without Compromising Efficiency Read More 

Panasonic Accelerates the Autonomous Supply Chain with Acquisition of Blue Yonder Read More 

Walmart+ Leverages Grocery Delivery; Gains 8 Million New Paid Subscribers Read More 

FedEx launches ‘Picture Proof of Delivery’ in Singapore Read More 

Emirates brings seamless parcel delivery to Kuwait Read More 

Nippon Express Opens New Warehouse in Dublin Read More 

Emirates Delivers Launches in Kuwait Read More 

DHL Group to acquire Turkish parcel delivery provider MNG Kargo Read More 

Target Goes Local to Speed Up Order Deliveries Read More 

Southern California’s Hot Warehousing Market Is Cooling Off Read More 

Why Warehouse Rents Keep Going Up While Demand Is Dropping Read More 

Cosco Shipping to deliver from European yards to Chinese doors Read More 

5 Strategies for Boosting Warehouse Automation Software Profitability Read More 

Freez’up space with e-grocery automation Read More 

How automated checklists prioritise safety in the warehouse Read More 

Unigloves launches new sustainable safety gloves Read More 

Trying Times Give 3PLs an Opportunity to Prove Their Worth Read More 

Walmart, Alphabet to Test Wider Drone Deliveries Read More 

Last-mile city hub Zoetermeer ready for use Read More 

Trade and Customs News (H3) 

UK exporters urged to act swiftly as new customs platform transition looms Read More 

HMRC backtracks to phased switchover to CDS for UK exports Read More 

US and Canada battle over lumber imports Read More 

OFAC Issues Venezuela General License 8G Extending Authorization of Certain Transactions for U.S. Oil & Gas Companies Read More 

Decline in June 2023: U.S. Imports of Canned Mushrooms Plummet to $11M Read More 

ICC and Swift launch API standards for Bank Guarantees and Standby Letters of Credit Read More 

Sugar Heads Toward Two-Month High on Concern Over Indian Exports Read More 

U.S. Importers Are Absorbing Higher Shipping Costs This Summer Read More 

High growth, low volumes: Africa’s SCF problem Read More 

Sime Darby, MUFG close first Islamic green trade finance facility Read More 

Egypt and Abu Dhabi’s Adex sign US$500mn wheat deal Read More 

Ecommerce Logistics News

Amazon Shipping relaunches, offering sellers delivery on outside channels Read More 

DHL leans into automation in new Chicago e-commerce facility Read More 

OnTrac announces service expansion into three key U.S. markets Read More 

Amazon Restarts Delivery Service It Paused During the Pandemic Read More 

Amazon and Nestle join public-private plan to save world’s forests Read More 

FedEx, Adobe Agree to Integrate E-Commerce Sales, Service Platforms Read More 

Etihad Cargo stretches express moves on e-commerce Read More 

Shaping the future of e-commerce logistics with JDL Read More 

Cathay Pacific reports active e-commerce cargo in July Read More 

E-commerce sector urgently needs to make tough choices Read More 

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