Current spot rates. Shipping lines compete for customers, resulting in a price war. Rail terminals on the border with China perform very well - more and more goods are transported by trains from China to Russia. Redundancies in key logistics companies. As of January 8, 2023, China has lifted COVID entry restrictions at all road ports.


  1. Sea freight

After Chinese New Year, freight volume did not increase and market demand remained weak. With capacity exceeding demand, shipping lines began to compete for customers, resulting in a price war.

Sea freight rates fell slightly and the shipping industry expects them to remain at a similar level until mid-February this year. or even longer.

One shipping agency reported offers with rates from multiple Chinese ports to Felixstowe Port of $998 per 40-foot container, valid until February 14. Rates from the largest Chinese ports - Shanghai and Ningbo - to Felixstowe are USD 1400 per FEU and USD 1450 per FEU to Hamburg and Rotterdam, valid until mid-February this year.

WCI Drewry on February 2nd. down 1% to $2.033,70 per 40ft container. Which is a 78% decrease from the same week in 2022. Freight rates assessed by Drewry are:

Shanghai - Rotterdam: USD/FEU 1732, -1% weekly.

Shanghai - Genoa: $2,727/FEU, - 2% or $51 per week.

Xeneta's XSI on February 1: $1787/FEU

CCFI Feb 3: $1465/FEU

With low cargo volumes on China-Europe routes, carriers are diverting their ships to more profitable trade routes. In order not to breach the shipping contract, shipping lines are actively discussing the sharing of available slots.

Meanwhile, given the recession in the shipping industry, several logistics companies have announced layoffs. CH Robinson, which laid off around 650 employees in November 2022, expects labor costs to fall by around 2023% annually in 7. FedEx has laid off 12 employees since June last year, and the company announced on February 000 that it would eliminate more than 1% of its management and director positions. Flexport announced a global layoff of 10% of its employees on January 20 this year. and immediately implemented this message. Further layoffs are expected in 11.

In the face of a weak container market and a shortage of ships y/y, more and more container shipping companies have switched to transporting cars in containers. In 2023, only 11 new vessels are expected to enter the market y/y, and the total capacity of vessels will cover only 50% of the demand.


  1. Rail freight

According to China Railway in January this year. In 1410, a total of 147 trains carrying 6 people left China. TEU, which means an increase of 1% and 3%, respectively, compared to 2022. All railway terminals on the border with China recorded in January this year. good results.

The amount of goods cleared through the Alashankou railway port in January this year. reached 1,114 million tons, an increase of 12,8% year on year. The customs clearance time at the Alashankou railway terminal has been reduced to 5 hours, the border crossing time for trains to China is about 4 hours, and the average transhipment time is 1,5 hours.

As of January 27, Khorgos railway port served 531 trains between China and Europe this year with 670,9 thousand trains. tonnes of cargo, which means an increase of 2,11% and 18,93%, respectively.

Today, more and more stations use trains to transport cars. One container can hold 4 cars and one train has at least 55 containers.

In January 2023, rail freight traffic between China and Russia increased by 68% year-on-year. 395 trains entered and left China via Manzhouli station in January this year, carrying 40 TEU of cargo, an increase of 688 yoy. Russian Railways plans to increase the number of container trains passing through Zabaykalsk (Russian: Забайка́льск) from the current 6,4-6 trains/day to 8 trains.

More and more goods are being transported by train from China to Russia, but according to the industry, this does not mean that China-Europe trains will be China-Russia trains. Connecting Europe and China is one of the main goals of the BRI project. Europe also needs Chinese trains, especially as EU imports of raw materials from China are on the rise. Despite the sanctions, rail transport through Russia to Europe is very stable. China-Europe rail traffic should be dominated by northern transport via Russia, while alternative routes should be consolidated. Transport capacity through the Central Corridor, which runs through the Caspian Sea, needs to be further developed, and the Southern Corridor needs to be explored.


  1. Road transport

Road transport between China and Europe resumed after the Chinese New Year. Freight rates from China to Poland averaged around USD 22, but prices depended heavily on the cost of truck fleets. Since Russia prohibits European fleets from entering its territory, the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh fleets are responsible for transporting goods from the Kazakh-Chinese border to Europe. At the EU border, goods are transhipped onto European trucks or trailers (with goods) are pulled by European tractors to European warehouses.

Before the Russo-Ukrainian war, many Polish fleets operated from Kazakhstan/Russia to Europe, while today most Polish fleets have shifted their main business to Ukraine-Europe and Turkey-Europe routes.

The industry is currently convinced that road transport still has a lot of room for development. However, many European companies do not know the procedures at the border of Kazakhstan and China well, and Chinese companies, in turn, do not know the procedures at European borders, good cooperation between Chinese and European transport companies is the key to success. Road traffic between China and Central Asia/Russia is currently very intense.

As of January 8, 2023, China has lifted COVID entry restrictions at all road ports. Trucks from Tajikistan arrived in China to pick up shipments for the first time in 3 years.

In addition, the first Chinese TIR shipments left the port of Xinjiang Irkhestan (Russian: Эркеш-Там) for Kyrgyzstan, marking the resumption of Chinese TIR shipments.