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Peak Season Shipping Update

port congestionWe are now into peak season – this is when carriers increase rates for the shipment of goods due to demand for shipping goods before the holiday seasons. This season starts with the lead up to Thanksgiving and Black Friday and goes all the way through to Christmas, covering the busiest period of retail in the year.

Since so many businesses export goods from China, China exports are the main shipments affected by the Peak Season. The 2019 Peak season generally starts in August and lasts until the end of November.

But this year, we’re experiencing a different trend. Rather than shipping demand increasing to the levels of previous years, therefore inducing rate hikes, this year ocean carriers are reducing capacity and increasing rates by cancelling sailings. This is called a blank sailing and is used to artificially increase ocean rates on the spot freight market.

This year Brexit uncertainty has added to early demand for shipping, creating an unseasonably busy July and August. Which could account for the level of blank sailing this period. We are keeping a close eye on rates, capacity and trends and are pleased to say we are currently holding good rates for September and October.

Importers still need to allow a 3-6 week lead time at this time of year for a sea freight shipment to get from the origin warehouse to the destination warehouse.

FCL shipments are affected a lot more in peak season then LCL shipments. The reason for this is with FCL the actual sea freight takes up around 50% of the overall costs. For an indication of the breakdown of the rest of the fees see the table below.

Shipping rates LCL and FCLLCL shipments are not affected by peak season as much because the freight in LCL makes up less than 10% of the overall costs, on occasion cube handling can be as much as $12 each, so destination charges, delivery, port and warehousing can add considerably to costs.

For seasonal goods, retailers need to book now to guarantee October shipping dates to ensure their goods arrive in time for Black Friday and the start of the Christmas buying period.

For businesses selling non-seasonal goods, we recommend shipping in advance of peak season to get the best prices, most of our customers schedule sea freight for early August.

For more information on weighing up costs and deciding the best sea freight shipping options for your goods read our blog

Rates are set a month in advance. As Freight Forwarders our TPS Global sea freight team can negotiate and hold competitive rates with our preferred carriers. We use our experience and knowledge of the industry to advise customers and work with them to find the most cost effective solution for their shipping, it could be to try and find a cheaper way of shipping their goods by FCL or routing their goods on different shipments to pay LCL prices.

With price rises, there can be a lot of empty threats and this peak season, despite Brexit fears we are not expecting any drastic increase in rates compared to the normal peak season increases.

To request a quote and book now, call +44(0)1622 237979 or email us at to make sure that your goods miss peak season congestion.

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