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It’s time to keep tabs on freight rates, says Xeneta

[ December 12, 2018   //   ]

Oslo-based freight rate specialist Xeneta is advising shippers to keep a close eye on fluctuating ocean and air freight rates due to the ongoing trade war between the US and China. It says that in an unpredictable geopolitical environment, highlighted by last week’s arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada, shippers need agile logistics strategies, with the option of shifting transportation mode whenever necessary.
Xeneta chief executive Patrik Berglund commented: “At the beginning of December we had Presidents Trump and Xi hailing an apparent ceasefire at the G-20 meeting in Argentina, only for the Huawei case to quickly illustrate that hostilities are far from over.
“The 90-day breathing space the US has given China with regards to the next round of tariff hikes may or may not last that long, and in the meantime that will lead to a rush to fulfil shipments and avoid the looming taxes. Which, in turn, has an obvious impact on shipping rates.”
He explained: “Some cargoes have to be moved by ship, due to volume and safety issues, whereas others have to be carried by air, if they perish rapidly (such as certain flowers or pharmaceuticals). However, there’s a surprising overlap with fashion, small electronics, toys and much, much more than can ship irrespective of mode.”
The latest Xeneta Shipping Index showed an increase in overall global ocean freight rates in November after three months of falls. The US export index in particular showed a strong increase, climbing by 3.1%.