Carriers (CMA CGM, Evergreen and MSC) predict that cargo volumes will increase and the market will improve from QXNUMX this year. which will lead to an increase in freight rates. Kazakhstan plans to expand its two ports of Aktau and Kuryk on the Caspian Sea, create cross-border hubs and build new ships and fleets. In Europe, Poland prohibits trucks from Belarus, Russia and other third countries outside the EU and EFTA from entering Poland through the Polish-Belarusian border.
- Sea freight
Rates from China to Europe have stopped falling. SCFI recorded its first increase (+3,5%) after 9 consecutive weeks of decline. Drewry's World Container Index (WCI) fell on March 16. just 1% to $1.790,36 for a 40-foot container.
As of March 13, In 410, the inventory of empty containers stored at Ningbo-Zhoushan Port fell to approximately 000 TEU. This is about 60 TEU less than at the beginning of March this year. which is a sign of growing exports from China.
There has been a shortage of slots in some regions of China and Taiwan recently as China-Europe shipping capacity has been significantly reduced (cancelled or suspended). Shipping companies plan to raise freight rates on April 1 this year. with an estimated maximum increase of $100-200 per 40-foot container. The successful rate increase depends on whether there is an agreement between the shipping companies.
The current spot rates are:
China - Europe： $878/TEU, +$13 or 1,5% weekly
China - Mediterranean： $1651/TEU, +$62 or 3,9% weekly
Shanghai-Rotterdam: $1553/FEU, -1% weekly and -87% annually.
Shanghai-Genoa：$2256/FEU, -1% weekly and -82% annually.
Some shippers offer rates around $1150-$1200/ FEU from major Chinese ports to northern Europe.
This year, many shippers do not intend to enter fixed long-term rates, and some choose contracts correlated with spot rate indices. Rates in such contracts will change along with spot rates and will prevent shippers from feeling the negative impact of reductions.
Shippers willing to enter into long-term contracts usually keep their rates low. However, if they are unwilling to offer reasonable levels, carriers can simply suspend the voyage, with serious implications for the security of shippers' supply chains.
Three carriers (CMA CGM, Evergreen and MSC) predict that cargo volumes will increase and the market will improve from QXNUMX this year. which will lead to an increase in freight rates. However, some skeptics believe that this is just a strategic statement by shipping companies to increase confidence in the market.
- Rail freight
China Railway announced that due to congestion at the border, all trains to Manzhouli and Khorgos will not be loaded from 18.00:11 p.m. 18.00 March 16. until XNUMX March XNUMX. Express trains, containers and priority goods will not be suspended.
Although China-Europe express trains can be loaded, transit times will be disrupted, especially for scheduled trains to Europe, as the main reason for the suspension is that current processing capacity at the border cannot meet demand. Staff at the border will prioritize China-Europe trains. However, due to the large number of trains waiting in the port, there is little space for incoming trains. Currently, the EU and Kazakhstan are actively working to create an alternative route bypassing Russia. The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) is the most favorable route for them. The amount of goods transported on this route increased 2,4 times last year and amounted to 1,3 million tons. However, this is far from meeting the demand. Kazakhstan plans to expand its two ports of Aktau and Kuryk on the Caspian Sea, create cross-border hubs and build new ships and fleets.
In China, the authorities are promoting combined sea-rail transport and the construction of new distribution hubs. For example, March 4 this year. The China-Europe Railway hub in Shenyang was officially opened. China is also planning to rehabilitate China's roads and tracks and encourage manufacturers to transport new energy cars by rail.
- Road transport
The time of crossing the border from China and Kazakhstan has improved significantly. The number of vehicles from China at the port of Nur Zholy in Kazakhstan has increased since March 14. by 40%. More than 400 vehicles per day cleared customs at Khorgos, the largest road transit port on the Kazakhstan-China border, unprecedented since the COVID-19 outbreak.
As of early 2023, both China and Kazakhstan have been making continuous efforts to improve at border crossings. China lifted COVID -19 restrictions in January this year. and Kazakhstan introduced electronic queuing systems at all border crossings, making the queuing process more transparent. However, most Kazakh drivers do not have visas to China. Drivers with visas (about 40-50 drivers) took advantage of this and charged high prices for transporting loaded semi-trailers from China to Kazakhstan. Currently, Kazakhstan has set up a border procedure monitoring group on the Kazakh-Chinese border. This is already improving the situation.
In Europe, Poland prohibits trucks from Belarus, Russia and other third countries outside the EU and EFTA from entering Poland through the Polish-Belarusian border. Tractors at the Polish border must be replaced by EU tractors to transport goods to European warehouses. This significantly increases transportation costs and lengthens transit times. Some Kazakh trucks choose to enter the EU via the Latvian and Lithuanian borders, but this results in longer transit times and distances.
The Kazakh Road Transport Organization (KAZATO) asked the Polish authorities to explain why their trucks cannot enter Poland through the PL/BY border. However, if Poland and the EU are not willing to resolve this political conflict with Belarus, economic relations with China and Central Asia may be seriously affected.
Despite the difficulties, many companies still transport their goods to Europe using trucks. It is estimated that around 100 people work in the China/Central Asia-Europe road transport industry.