The ups and down of 2020 have a clear influence on the statistics that started the new year. The worldwide shortage on container equipment, capacity problems and of course the Covid-19 outbreak caused an extraordinary increase in freight rates. Logically the year 2021 starts with sky high numbers. I January, the Index Europe (Base Port) of the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) reached a record high of 4.452 points. As an example: spot rates from Shanghai to Europe saw in increase of no less than 324%.
The first signals for a stabilization of the SCFI are now coming in sight. Major shipping have already announced that there will be no blank sailings after Chinese New year, so that a flow of empty containers to can start. Eight of the twelve large shipping companies have invested heavily in there fleets, meaning that capacity must increase. The pressure on capacity and rates are expected to remain very high until CNY 2021.
The problems in the current sea freight market are heavily influencing the air freight market. And again Covid-19 is playing an important role in this. Due to the restrictive measures to limit the virus, the number of commercial passenger flights with available cargo space for the logistics sector is decreasing. Due to measures to control virus, the number of flights has decreased by 55% compare to the pre-Covid-19 year. And the demand for both pleasure and business flights continues to decline due to the lack of clarity and the unpredictability surrounding Covid-19. Especially now there is a third wave of the virus predicted. As a result of this, major airlines will further reduce their aircraft capacity, which will have a negative effect on rate structures. A sharp peak in those rates can be expected before CNY.
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