While ocean freight rates from Asia to Europe remain at lower levels, the Transpacific market has witnessed a rate spike this month.

North American importers are facing more challenges from the worsening labour dispute on the West Coast. Talks broke down between the dockers’ ILWU union and the PMA employers trade association recently, with stoppages and slow operations disrupting ports in the region.

While both parties are believed to have resumed communication, they are as far apart as ever on two of the most important issues; wages and port automation.

Asia to US East Coast rates have recently been affected by the ongoing drought in the Panama Canal, vessel restrictions have reportedly reduced ship capacity levels by up to 40%, resulting in the recent introduction of the Panama Canal Surcharge (PSS).

So far this month, spot rates from Asia for both East and West Coast ports have risen by up to 16%.

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