Importers and exporters should prepare for a year ahead that will be marked by similar situations to now in cargo, with limited capacity coming up against extreme demand that is turning into rising rates and full vessels.

Ports around the world are surging, with most in Asia remaining at full capacity as they have been for several months. US ports are as well, with long backlogs for high-capacity ships lining up for limited amounts of US unloading infrastructure. Some less-used ports in Asia may even see some facilities temporarily idled as equipment for them becomes scarcer and diverted to larger ports.

Rates are showing no signs of slowing down, either. Container freight rate indexes are showing that trans-Pacific spot rates are as high as they’ve ever been, a natural development of demand surging to a level carriers can barely meet. 


Rates are showing no signs of slowing down!

Export equipment for shippers in the US’ interior remains a major issue, especially for agricultural exporters. For many carriers, it’s more profitable to put equipment empty back on west-bound ships to load them again in Asia than send them into the middle of the US to be filled with export products. This has made it challenging for companies outside the coast to get allocated the equipment needed to even be able to move their goods.

The confluence of this ongoing equipment and capacity squeeze along with increasing prices is causing many importers to seek early BCO negotiations and contracts in an attempt to gain control of their pricing and secure space. Primarily through these guarantees are about capacity and equipment, and as bookings look to be holding steady even through February with no sign of a post-holiday abatement, space will remain a challenge for shippers. 

In a time when prices are increasing and capacity tightens, all importers benefit from having a forwarder with the knowledge, skill, and options necessary to find the best rates and make sure your cargo is loaded. JMR’s global network allows us to find these options and bring real cost savings to our clients. Please contact our SVP of Sales Andrew Galloway at (212) 220-7412, (973) 726-5340, or via email at