September Sea Freight update

2nd September, 2021

Ocean freight lead times are generally longer than previously experienced. It’s not that the vessels have gotten slower, rather delays being experienced at most major shipping ports are causing the late entry to nominated ports of vessels. This in turn causes the advertised departure dates to be later. By way of example, there are currently 42 vessels waiting to discharge at Long Beach USA. Similarly at the major transhipment hub of Singapore it is currently a 3 day additional waiting time for vessel arrivals.


Shipping lines are also having to deal with covid out breaks at global shipping ports, some have been shut down without notice causing further chaos. Ningbo port in China was recently closed for 6 days and being a major port the knock on effect with delayed vessels has been significant.

Ocean freight rates are continuing to increase, our analysis remains that this will continue into 2022. As we now step into what is traditionally peak season and with China heading off for Golden Week holidays (Oct 1st – Oct 7th) we will see these increases spike again. For example, we are getting close to USD10000.00 per 40’ex China with this being a USD1200.00 to USD1500.00 premium on the previous month.

LCL ocean freight will increase proportionally to the FCL rate increases, ex China, a GRI of USD30.00 to USD35.00 per CBM will be applicable from September 1st


As mentioned, there is significant port congestion occurring again in the USA, this will cause a change to vessel departure dates and as a consequence later arrivals. We are starting to hear of some truckers in the USA charging a USD175.00 per container fee being termed a ‘port congestion drayage surcharge’. We are not seeing this from our truckers as yet, however will need to monitor this for any changes in additional charges. For USA lead times we continue to advise adding a 2-3 weeks lead time as result of the congestion and delays.


Rates are up and space is tight, we are securing bookings OK, however we do require early notice as soon as possible in any pending shipments please. Reefers continue to be difficult to source.


Very tight for space, can be a 2-3 week delay to secure a booking. We are now hearing an additional USD1000 per container rate increases towards the end of the month.


FCL space continues to be a major issue ex all Australian ports with space not available until November in some instances. Equipment availability is a problem with access to standard 20’ containers ex Brisbane, a surprising problem. For exports from Australia forward planning is a necessity and the ability to book an FCL two weeks out from goods being ready is difficult. We ask that notification of FCL exports be at the earliest possible time.

LCL bookings are getting away much more efficiently than FCL. Consideration can be given to loading to LCL as opposed to FCL on some occasions. We can provide the costing analysis of LCL v’s FCL very quickly for you and balance each with the likely departure dates allowing you to make an informed decision on the best way to proceed.

Direct Sailing

For SCC customers we are always seeking the fastest route for your cargo where possible seeking to avoid transhipment hubs, now more than ever we recommend direct sailing options when they are available for the nominated port pairing.

Rate of the week

The absurdity of ocean freight rates played out for us with a quote for a 40’ flat rack ex Barcelona Spain to Sydney coming in at USD81000.00 per 40’ FR. Thankfully a much more appropriate rate was secured for this customer.


We do want to take the time here to send a huge thanks to our overseas freight partners. We are well aware of your extended efforts to secure best available rates. But more importantly space for our customers whilst each shipment is requiring that bit extra attention each and everyone of you is doing an outstanding job and it is important that we recognise this. From all of the team at SCC we say thanks and we love doing business with each and everyone of you.


Please also remember that we move into BMSB season as of 1st September which will have further implications for many products from various origins.  Please refer to our post or contact our Customs team to ascertain if your product is affected:  2021-22 Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) seasonal measures – Southern Cross Cargo

At SCC we are proud of the fact that while we have had to pass on the increases from the service providers, Southern Cross Cargo has sought to ensure that we do not increase any of our administrative or handling fees in an effort to support our clients during this pandemic. We are an extension of our customers business and we will always do whatever we can within our control to support our fantastic customers.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at for any assistance.



 Southern Cross Cargo Pty Ltd

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


Level 2, Suite 210, 29 Kiora Road
Miranda NSW 2228


PO Box 245
Capalaba QLD 4157