Sea Freight Update

8th April, 2022

Rate Relief

We are seeing ocean freight reductions underway on the Asia to EU trade lane, signs are emerging that inflationary pressure is having an impact on consumer spending in EU countries, a resulting decrease in volumes is seeing rates starting to reduce. Similarly we are now seeing rates starting to reduce ex China to AU, with rates peaking to AU ex CN at about USD11000.00 per 40’ there is now market rates south of this.


As noted above, in much welcomed news we are starting to see some rate relief on the CN to AU trade lane, bookings are still needing to be made up to 3 weeks out from vessel departures. Please do not wait until your goods are manufactured to alert us of a pending order, ideally share with us your purchase orders up to 3 weeks in advance of what your advised goods ready date is.

We are however seeing delays for shipments ex Shanghai as a result of the strict Covid lockdown which currently has no end date. Essential services will remain open and logistics does fall into this space however this alone will not be enough to avoid delays during this period. When a shipment cannot move ex Shanghai as a result of the supplier being located in an area that trucking cannot support the collection, alternative ports of departure are being sort.


While there has been a reduction in the number of vessels waiting for berthing spots off the ports of Long Beach (in the 70’s instead of over 100), the congestion at the port area is expected to continue into the front end of 2022 partly due to ongoing chassis and trucking shortages, but also the flow on from factories re-starting after Chinese New Year. Many retailers are still waiting for March catalogue stock. 

Exports from the USA are experiencing extensive delays and can be up to 8 weeks prior to sailing, this timeline presents many issues but it can be mitigated with advance knowledge of your expected goods ready date. For every order ensure our CS team is engaged at the time of the order being placed. Importantly, please make adjustments to your lead times and do hold regular dialogue with your suppliers as many are also experiencing delays with the production time of finished goods.

Most US terminals are still experiencing high waiting times for berths – in particular NY and Houston as many carriers seek to circumnavigate port congestion on the west coast. Waiting time for berths in LA and Long Beach terminals is reported to be between 10-30 days.

With West coast port labour contracts due to expire on July 1, there is pressure on the ILWU and PMA to begin negotiations well in advance to help alleviate concerns of added disruptions. 

Inflationary pressures and high fuel prices could dampen demand further into 2022 which may ease congestion but not spell good things for retailers. 

New Zealand

Lots of delays currently, almost every vessel gets pushed back for departure, then sit off coast in NZ for a few weeks also due to congestion. Sailing between ETD and ETA is more around the 30 day mark not 7 days.

For export FCL bookings there is no space until May, LCL space is more readily available.

Europe and the UK

Unfortunately sailings from EU and UK are not excluded from the delays and are also suffering changes as a result of the war in the Ukraine. Many vessel rotations are in place as a result and there is increasing blank sailings as well.

Low Sulfur Bunker and Fuel Prices

For those not familiar with the bunker price it is essentially an additional surcharge levied on the ship operators to compensate for the fluctuations in the fuel prices. We are all aware of the price of fuel at your local bowser and in global shipping, the bunker price is what is of concern with any increases. The bunker fee has increased significantly since 2020 as highlighted below and as a result, announcements of bunker surcharges are being made regularly and will continue whilst the cost keeps increasing.

Bunker price per TON
2020: USD374.00
2021: USD544.00
2022: USD945.00

For the moment the rate reductions out of China are greater than the bunker increases, providing a saving on overall freight costs compared to previous months.

Local transport providers are also making adjustments to their fuel surcharges with some reporting rates at 23%.


For any quotes please reach out to our sales team on



 Southern Cross Cargo Pty Ltd

+61 7 3899 6466
Unit 4, 24-26 Ellerslie Road
Meadowbrook QLD 4131


Suite 23, 349-351 Kingsway
Caringbah NSW 2229


PO Box 245
Capalaba QLD 4157