Freight Market Update

17 November 2023
by Pro Carrier

Table of contents

By Pro Carrier
Published: 17/11/23
Last Edited: 12/02/24

Topic of the week:

A new CNBC Supply Chain Survey taken amongst logistics executives, and report suggests that not only will freight trucking continue to struggle as we move into 2024, but demand will remain low and is expected to contain lower orders over the holiday season. CNBC’s survey also suggests that there may not be any growth within the sector throughout the first half of 2024, with only a mild uptick forecasted for the second half of 2024.

This year has seen many challenging economic conditions for the freight industry, through multiple wars, droughts and more, demand has remained low all year. This recession is now expected to continue into 2024, as consumers spend less will inventories remain high. As trucking companies are paid by the load, low expectations for holiday orders means that there is the possibility revenue levels will also dwindle over the peak period. Within the CNBC survey, there were varied opinions on the state of Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) rates, but 33% of respondents believe that rates will be up by 5% will another 33% believe that they will be down by 5%. Interestingly a further 17% believe that LTL rates will be down by as much as 15%. It has not been an uncommon sight this year to see trucking companies either shut down completely or move services due to rising fuel costs and lower rates. Similarly those involved in the survey believe that overall freight rates will primarily be lower moving into Q1 of 2024. 17% believe rates will be down by 15%, a further 17% believe rates will fall by 10% and another 17% of respondents believe rates will fall by 5%. Overall the consensus is that freight rates will remain lower as we move into the new year. The same was surveyed for freight volumes with similar figures being reported for Q1 2024.

However, moving into the second half of 2024 freight volumes are expected to increase. 50% of survey respondents believe that volumes will increase by 5% whilst 17% believe that they will increase by 15%. The remaining 33% believe that freight volumes will increase by 10%. There have been significant layoffs throughout 2023 due to rock bottom rates and diminishing volumes. The vice president of drayage and intermodal at ITS Logistics, Paul Brashier stated, “Unfortunately, we are going to see significant challenges in volumes, and this will continue to cause more providers to exit the market or implement significant layoffs.”

Overall, a year of tumultuous freight conditions could continue into 2024. Whilst some remain optimistic, you could expect to see lower volumes and rates within the first half of 2024, although things could be looking up this time next year.


  • Over the last two weeks China/East Asia to North America West Coast spot rates have risen by 9% from $1,563 /FEU to $1,711 /FEU according to Freightos data.
  • China/East Asia to North America East Coast spot rates have slightly risen over the last two weeks, increasing by 9% to $2,212/FEU.
  • Global container spot prices have risen over the last two weeks, and are now sitting at $1,217/FEU, a 11% increase over the last two weeks, and a 59% decrease from spot rates this time in 2022 according to the Freightos Baltic Index (FBX)
  • After more and more fires seem to be destroying car-carriers, MOL has developed an AI system that can detect fires early. It is set to implement this new technology on multiple newbuild ro-ro ships. The technology is built by Captain’s Eye, an Israeli company, and consists of cameras installed throughout the vessel, with Ai integrations that can detect and interpret any abnormal images that could be a fire. The system works quicker than a normal smoke detector so allows for faster and more efficient response to fires.


  • Global Air Freight spot rates currently sit at $2.58, as rates continue to fluctuate according to the Freightos Air Freight Index (FAX)
  • Europe to Northern America spot rates currently sit at $1.84 (100-3000kg), says FAX, increasing by 3%
  • Europe to Central Asia spot rates have decreased by 5% currently sitting at $2.18 (100-3000kg), says FAX
  • Europe to Asia, Greater China spot rates currently sit at $1.38 (100-3000kg), says FAX
  • After a military coup, Niger Air Cargo has now resumed its freighter service between Europe and Niger. The once-a-week service operate between Liege and Niamey International Airport. This is the only direct lane between Europe and Niger.

That’s all for this week’s update…

Check out our other insights and articles for more in depth industry news and trending topics, or get in contact to discuss some of our best in class freight forwarding services!

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