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Freight market update – February 2023

In Market Updates Posted February 15, 2023 at 3:54 pm
By Con Xegas

International Freight Market Update - Feb 23 (1200 × 627 px)

International freight market Feb 23 conditions are shaped by high inflation numbers and global economic concerns, contributing to a drop in trade volumes impacting Australia. Since Lunar New Year, conditions are generally stable with low rates and open capacity.

Low inbound freight rates will prevail across the container shipping market for the first half of 2023, but it is anticipated these will slowly rebound as we move into the second half of the year.

Outbound freight rates remain elevated but stable, driven by demand for high-volume export commodities.

Freight savings are offset by rapidly increasing onshore stevedore / empty container park Terminal Access Charges and ancillary fees – costing Australian exporters and importers an estimated $600M per annum.

Increased blank sailings along with a COVID outbreak in China have extended disruptions post Lunar New Year. Congestion is expected at the larger ports of Shanghai / Ningbo / Qingdao as infected workers are forced to quarantine.

Schedule reliability continues to trend upwards, surpassing 2020 and 2021 levels. Schedule reliability is expected to revert to full normalisation by the end of Q1 this year should we experience no significant disruptions in the coming weeks. While improving, the data highlights Asia-Oceania is still the trade with the lowest reliability (31.8%).

Trade volume in Vietnam has skyrocketed as manufacturers continue moving some of their operations away from China.

In a period of expected capacity reduction, ANL has launched three new services connecting key Southeast Asian and Australian ports.

Maersk and MSC have mutually agreed to discontinue the 2M alliance, set to end in January 2025.

Maersk moves to a singular, unified brand by integrating brands such as Hamburg Süd and Sealand.

Decarbonising shipping is estimated to cost more than $1 trillion globally, with much anticipated to be passed on to shippers – advocacy to focus on transparency of costs – the Port of Long Beach aims to be the world’s first zero-emissions port.

Sea freight

  • Rates: Stable at low levels on most origin-destination combinations.
  • Space: Available.
  • Capacity and Equipment: Available.
  • AU/NZ: No space issues. Rates continue to decrease.
  • Post-LNY conditions are back to normal, but market capacity has remained higher than in years past. Expect regular blank sailings to continue in attempts to stabilise rates.
  • Direct sailings are suggested for time-sensitive shipments to avoid potential congestion at transhipment ports.

Air freight

  • North China: Market demand is low and being outpaced by supply. Rates remain unchanged from last week.
  • South China: Demand continues to be low after the LNY holiday, with rates dropping from the week prior.
  • Taiwan: Demand and rates are low.
  • Korea: Demand is slow with no uplift forecast.
  • SE Asia: Demand overall remains low with widely available capacity.
  • Europe: Overall demand has increased with more fluctuations in rates week-on-week across point pairs. No significant disruptions or delays across major hubs.
  • More indirect options are becoming available with one or more connections at a cheaper rate but with longer transit time.
  • Americas: Export demand remains steady from all markets. US airports are running at a typical pace. Capacity is increasing, especially for freight into Europe, and rates remain stable week-on-week.



  • Patrick: Average delay of 2 days for vessels already delayed and off the berthing window.
  • DP World: Average delay of 1 day for vessels already delayed and off the berthing window.


  • Patrick: Average delay of two days for off-window vessels depending on arrival.
  • DP World: Average delay of 1 day for vessels already delayed and off the berthing window.
  • VICT: Current delays at 1-2 days for off-window vessels.
  • MIRRAT: extensive delays on the release of new motor vehicle imports.


  • Patrick: Average delay of one day for off-window vessels depending on arrival.
  • DP World: Average delay of 1 day for off-window vessels depending on arrival.


  • Patrick: Average delay of one day for off-window vessels depending on arrival.
  • DP World: Average delay of 1 day for vessels already delayed and off the berthing window.

Keeping customers abreast of changing market conditions is critical in what we do. If you have questions about International Freight Market Feb 23, please get in touch. Whether it be reducing costs or increasing your supply chain efficiencies, why not speak with us today as part of your strategy? Together with our dedicated and professional team, we would love an opportunity to assist your business. Please email me at gregg.f@maglog.com.au

Magellan Logistics provides freight and logistics services to all industries, including sea freight, air freight, customs clearance and the all-important digital freight portal providing 24/7 visibility of all your shipments. Get in touch with one of our freight specialists on 1300 651 888.

With thanks to FTA for the International Freight Market summary.

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