Trans-Pacific Rates & Capacity Brace for Lunar New Year

Trans-Pacific Rates & Capacity Brace for Lunar New Year

2019-01-08T15:47:12+00:00January 8th, 2019|Freight Market, Import, Shipping News|

As the New Year brings fresh resolutions and opportunities, shippers are coming face-to-face with tighter capacity and higher rates on Pacific trade lanes.

Spot rates from Asia increased for the second week in a row as we brought in 2019, and the industry has begun bracing for the Lunar (Chinese) New Year holiday:

  • Asia – U.S. East Coast (up 13.4%)
  • Asia – U.S. West Coast (up 9.6%)
  • Asia – Mediterranean (up 15.3%)
  • Asia – Europe (up 14.2%)


The increase in trans-Pacific rates are due to a mixture of pre-Chinese New Year preparations and trade tensions between the United States and China.  Most retailers and manufactures front-loaded their imports in December (2018) forcing some terminals, such as Los Angeles – Long Beach, into extreme delays and backlogs of containers.

While some of the capacity is forecasted to slow come mid-January as the “cargo rush” passes, a March 2ndtariff increase deadline has shippers pushing to secure any additional inventory before duties increase to 25 percent after the Lunar holiday.

If a last-minute surge occurs, ocean carriers could deploy additional mega-vessels to meet the demand. Carrying close to 20,000 TEU, the extra-loaders would devastate already congested ports like Los Angeles-Long Beach, where an extra-loader ship can deposit an additional 90,000 containers onto the current back-log.

Shippers should look to secure their booking as soon as possible to avoid the expected rate increases in the coming weeks.

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