Transshipment times at the Chinese border and loading times at departure stations have improved. The transport time to Małaszewicze is about 15 days, and to Hamburg and Duisburg in Germany 23 days. The total transit time (door to door) is approximately 24-30 days. The European Union plans to impose further sanctions on Russia, which may result in more types of goods being banned from transiting through Russia, which in turn will reduce the volume of cargo from Europe to China and ultimately increase marginal or rail freight costs.
- Sea freight
Sea freight demand from China to Europe remains weak and rates continue to fall. Large amounts of empty containers are piling up in Chinese ports. Due to this congestion, many empty containers have been moved to secondary ports. Trailer drivers are waiting in queues for transport orders, and their earnings are 40-50% lower than in 2021. The owner of a transport company that handles shipments in Yantian Port said that the company's activity has decreased by 2/3, and only 12 trucks left out of 3 cannot even deliver enough cargo.
The logistics industry explains that the accumulation of containers in Chinese ports is not only the result of a decline in exports, but also the appearance of new containers on the market. In addition, empty containers are deliberately sent back to China because the capacity of Chinese ports is greater and stacking fees are lower. Empty containers in China can avoid bottlenecks in the peak of the export season.
Drewry's WCI (as of March 2) fell 2% to $1.859,28 per 40ft container.
Shanghai-Rotterdam: $1593/FEU, -2% week-on-week and -88% year-on-year.
Shanghai-Genoa: $2477/FEU, -2% week-on-week and -80% year-on-year.
However, the higher rated rates are higher than what is available in the market as carriers compete for volume with unsustainable tariffs. The lowest rate was $1/ FEU.
Reference rates on the market:
China - Hamburg/Rotterdam/Antwerp: USD 1150/FEU
China - base ports in Europe: 1050 USD//FEU
China - Gdansk: 1200 USD/FEU
The industry expects long-term rates in 2023 to be as much as 1/3 of those finalized in 2022.
It is expected that in March demand will remain low. This is due to the fact that the biggest consumer season is Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are no holidays in the second quarter of the year, so there is a shortage of goods to ship in March and April. Freight volumes in the first half of the year have never been high, so a recovery is expected only in the second half of the year.
- Railway transport
Trains have been running smoothly lately. Transhipment times at the Chinese border and loading times at exit stations have improved. It takes about 15 days to reach Małaszewicze in Poland, and 23 days to Hamburg and Duisburg in Germany. The total transit time (door to door) is approximately 24-30 days.
Freight rates are stable, but many scheduled trains to Europe have been canceled (perhaps due to declining cargo volumes), and first-mile prices (from Chinese depots to stations) for container trailers continue to fall as overall cargo volumes are low.
Currently, the China-Europe rail network connects 108 cities in China with 208 cities in 25 European countries. Further expansion of the network is planned in 2023.
Until February 22. In 1021, 2,1 trains passed through the port of Khorgos on the border between China and Kazakhstan, an increase of 52% year-on-year, and it took only 2 days to reach the first thousand. Until March 1044. In 7,2, XNUMX trains crossed the Alashankou border, an increase of XNUMX% year-on-year.
In 2023, rail transport will face several challenges. First, there are no obvious signs that the Ukrainian-Russian war will end soon, hence the geopolitical conflict continues to affect the rail transport market. Secondly, Europe may accelerate its separation from China as part of the de-globalization trend, which will affect the overall volume of shipments from China to Europe. At the same time, significant changes in the international shipping market are expected in 2023. Sea freight rates are back to pre-pandemic levels, with improved transit times and shipping stability. This will result in dragging some cargo streams from the railway to the sea. In addition, with the end of the epidemic around the world, and especially with the end of China's "zero covid" policy, air cargo capacity will gradually recover, so some rail cargo may become air cargo.
The European Union plans to impose further sanctions on Russia, which may result in more types of goods being banned from transiting through Russia, which in turn will reduce the volume of cargo from Europe to China and ultimately increase marginal or rail freight costs.
February 25 this year The European Union has introduced the tenth sanctions against Russia. Under the new sanctions, the transit of dual-use goods and firearms through Russia to third countries is prohibited. Fortunately, no effects have been observed so far. Since the sanctions mainly concern goods exported from the EU to the East, they will not have a major impact on rail freight traffic from China to Europe.
Currently, the industry believes that the transportation of Chinese e-commerce goods and new energy cars are two key elements for growth in 2023.
- Truck transport
Geopolitical tensions and sanctions have prevented almost all European road hauliers from transporting from China to Europe by road. Most of the trucks going from Kazakhstan to Europe are registered in the countries of Central Asia. Some Belarusian and Russian trucks also participate in the transport from the border of China and Kazakhstan to the EU, but at the EU border they have to be replaced by EU tractors because only (Belarusian and Russian) trailers are allowed to enter the EU.
On February 21, 2023, Poland closed the last road crossing on the Polish-Belarusian border Kukuriki-Kozłowicze. Prices from Kazakhstan to Poland increased dramatically for a few days, because there was a panic in the industry. Drivers had to take a detour through Lithuania and Latvia. Some sailed by ships from ports in Latvia to Germany, because they did not have entry permits to Lithuania and Latvia.
Forwarders in Russia and Belarus are actively looking for new cooperation with Chinese companies. Some are shifting their main business from west to east, which means more shipments within China and CIS countries than to Europe.
E-commerce goods and batteries continued to be shipped by road to Europe last week. While some choose intermodal transport that combines rail and road, companies are keeping an eye on how the trucking market will develop in the near future.