Welcome to the February 2018 edition of the BCR Market Update.

With Chinese New Year taking place this week, the freight forwarding industry is slowly moving into ‘post-peak season’ and we can see its impact by the easing of pricing.

In this update, we focus on the current conditions of the international freight forwarding market for the Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia trade lane, announced blank sailings and the reduction of rates typical for this period.


North East Asia to Australia

With Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays approaching we are experiencing the usual disruptions that are expected this time of year as early factory closures impact and increase pressure to the supply chain of all organisations.

As we commonly see at this time of the year, a trucking shortage is currently taking place. This can lead to higher costs as suppliers have to explore urgent options to meet designated requirements.

There have been numerous GRIs which have held firm and achieved positive results in maintaining stability on rates for the industry. The latest GRI has been implemented 15 January 2018. A high percentage of the amount levied was adopted, as there had been an overwhelming increase in demand which outpaced the available supply of space.

The freight forwarding industry is now moving into what is described as the “Slack Season” – freight rates are again under pressure with shipping lines reducing costs to accumulate increased bookings. The Slack Season strategy is used to overbook vessels by ensuring enough cargo is available to load on services sailing in the CNY period. This will lead to the rolling of cargo and delays will be unavoidable.

The shipping lines will ensure to prevent rates from decreasing to drastic levels by adopting several blank sailings. We have confirmation that the A3C (Asia Australia Consortium) service will have two blank sailings in Weeks 8/9. The AAUS Southern Loop (APL, Hamburg Sued, Hapag-Lloyd and Hyundai Merchant Marine belong to the AAUS Group) will adopt a blank sailing in Week 8. This, again, will disrupt weekly space allocations, port calls, terminal calls, routing and transit times. Unprecedented delays may occur. We recommend you to to inform your freight forwarder in time of any planned bookings.

We will keep a close eye on the market and demand versus supply. This will allow us to see how successful the carriers will be in controlling the capacity and whether the four-digit freight rates will continue to hold.

South East Asia to Australia

Space continues to be a challenge with no relief on the horizon until after the CNY holidays.

We expect no cuts to the capacity on this trade as no blank sailings are programmed. Current rates have held with no further increases planned in the short term.

While this trade has had smaller increases over the last months, rates have slowly started to recover. The carriers which are trying to capitalise on the shortage of space and therefore announced higher increases have now reduced pricing to market levels.


Australia Export

As the commodity exports commence and we see the trade picking up again, we see pressure on space and in particular on 20’ food quality equipment. Especially Melbourne and Brisbane are impacted due to the lack of 20’ import units coming into these ports.

Therefore, we encourage all readers and customers to plan their shipments early and ensure forecasts are provided to their freight forwarding expert.

For 125 years BCR has continued to assist small, medium and large businesses to achieve an optimum logistics solution with international freight forwarding services to and from the major ports of including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle (Perth).

For more than a century, BCR has continued to help small, medium and large businesses achieve an optimum logistics solution with warehousing and transportation, including air freight and sea freight services to and from the major ports including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle (Perth).