March 2023 – Market Update

By In Insight On 9th March 2023

The overall tone of the international air and ocean freight markets is a mixture of uncertainty and shipper hesitancy. Capacity has improved on both modes of transport while pricing stabilizes. 


  • Air freight rates in some heavily competitive major lanes have settled uneasily to levels that occasionally approach pre-pandemic pricing.  
  • Carrier service levels and space availability are subject to frequent last-minute delays and rescheduling.  
  • Time-definite priority service is still available in some lanes, but usually at distinctly higher prices.  
  • Fuel surcharge continues to fluctuate.

March Airport Status


Due to the continuous downfall of demand for ocean freight, carriers are still facing challenges in balancing the market's current capacity with demand. 

  • The 'blank sailing' strategy employed by ocean carriers may remove around 30% of market capacity.  
  • There is still uncertainty in ocean market rates after so much volatility during the pandemic. 
  • As volumes and congestion have eased, data shows that reliability is improving, and utilization levels are back to pre-pandemic levels, which in turn are driving the decrease in rates
  • The International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) are resuming talks to finalize the West Coast labor contract and ensure no disruptions in cargo movement.  
  • Equipment imbalances are causing issues on the export side as imports decline, resulting in fewer containers available for exports.  
  • A transloading surge is expected this year by intermodal providers. Between November and January, ocean containers accounted for only 47% of all intermodal shipments, while domestic containers accounted for 53%. Last year's chassis shortages and overcrowding at inland hubs like Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, and Memphis mainly cause this. 

Click on the link below for more information on ocean!

U.S. Port and Rail Status Update Chart


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