Why are sea freight rates rising in 2024?

Why are sea freight rates rising in 2024?

Looking at the past years, a reasonable sea freight rate for a full container (FCL) from Asia to Europe has been somewhere between 1.500 – 2.000 USD. During the pandemic, rates were increasing to peaks of 8.000 – 10.000 USD. Closed ports and absense workers due to quarantene resulted in interruptions in the shipping schedules and less shipping space available = higher shipping cost.

After the pandemic the supply chain recovered and towards the end of 2023 ocean freight rates went down below the 2.000 USD mark again.


Supply Chain interruptions and low stock levels

However, in January 2024 the cost for one full container all of a sudden went up to 3.300 USD. This was mostly caused by the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. Shipping companies started to avoid the Suez Canal and vessels were redirected around Africa. The first attacks happened at a time where many European companies had a low stock level. As inventory planners experienced huge interruptions in the supply chain during the pandemic, they then decided to ship more goods to avoid getting out of stock.

This sudden extra demand for shipping space is negotiated on the spot market, which puts high pressure on freight rates.


More flexibility means more price fluctuation

In general, companies nowadays want to be more flexible in their purchasing decisions. Only a few fix their demand for 6 months or even a year, which has been general practice 5-10 years ago. This desire for more flexibility leads to more fluctuating market prices as shipping companies cannot plan and compete against each other in advance.


Source for the freight rates: Average monthly cost for 20’ FCL general cargo Shanghai – Rotterdam invoiced to Petrex by various shipping lines

Young Masters soccer tournament 2024

Young Masters soccer tournament 2024

Again in 2024, the Young Masters soccer tournament will take place organized by the football club FC St. Hubert. As the region’s largest event for children’s football, we are happy to support the event and the concept “1:0 for children”.


For several years, more than 1,800 primary school students and more than 2,000 visitors have participated in the multiple-day football tournament annually. Sorted by the age groups, the pupils can experience team sports playfully. At the same time, donations are collected for UNICEF.


On Saturday, June 29, the Junior Cup for the third school year will take place. We sponsored this day. About 30 teams compete against each other in different rounds. Visitors are welcome from 8.45 AM – 4 PM. We will award the trophy. More information can be found here (German).

Petrex attends ChemSpec Düsseldorf and CPhI Shanghai – meet us on the fair!

Petrex attends ChemSpec Düsseldorf and CPhI Shanghai – meet us on the fair!

Petrex GmbH offers a wide range of high-quality chemicals and APIs. We regularly attend exhibitions to connect with business partners. This month we attend the ChemSpec in Düsseldorf as well as the CPhI in Shanghai.


Chemspec Europe is a key event for the fine and speciality chemicals industry. This year it takes place in Düsseldorf on 19-20 June. With a highly specialised profile, the exhibition is the place to be for purchasers and agents to meet with manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of fine and speciality chemicals.

CPHI China is Asia’s premier pharma event, bringing together suppliers and buyers from the entire pharmaceutical supply chain. Global pharma experts gather in Shanghai to network, source cost-effective solutions and conduct vital face-to-face business. The event takes place at Shanghai New International Expo Center on 19-21 June.

Meet us

We’re looking forward to meeting you. Please contact us for setting an appointment.

Petrex ISO 9001:2015 certification

Petrex ISO 9001:2015 certification

Petrex is proud to annouce their newly achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification. We are committed to providing the best possible service to everyone involved with us. The high level of satisfaction can only be maintained through documenting and reviewing the structure, responsibilities, and procedures required to achieve effective quality management.

Generally, the ISO 9001:2015 certification analyzes a business based on

  • Requirements for a QMS, including documented information, planning and determining process interactions
  • Responsibilities of management
  • Management of resources, including human resources and an organization’s work environment
  • Product realization, including the steps from design to delivery
  • Measurement, analysis, and improvement of the QMS through activities like internal audits and corrective and preventive action

Through this certification we demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.

Reduced paper usage and improved workflows by using DMS software

Reduced paper usage and improved workflows by using DMS software

In the first quarter we implemented a new software called d.velop. This Document Management Software (DMS) helps us to reduce paper usage and to promote sustainability through digitizing, organizing, and securing our documents. It is mainly used for bookkeeping files and supports many AI tools for example transfering files automatically to DATEV, the main german accounting software.

We received positive feedback from our colleagues due to higher working efficiency achieved through less copies and better searching tools.

There are many useful tools available in the market to digitize business workflows. We try to go one step after another to keep our team motivated to accept the change. The next step is already planned…

Sustainability: Petrex maintains EcoVadis Platinum

Sustainability: Petrex maintains EcoVadis Platinum

Sustainability is a process we’re happy to be a part of.

Petrex is proud to announce their continued excellent EcoVadis rating. For 2024, the CSR rating provider EcoVadis evaluated our efforts in the area of sustainability based on four key categories: environmental impact, labor, and human rights standards, ethics, and procurement practices. We are pleased to once again receive the platinum medal, which puts us at the forefront of the industry.

We appreciate the close cooperation with suppliers, customers, and partners to be more sustainable.

Any questions, please let us know.

2024 – Year of the Wood Dragon

2024 – Year of the Wood Dragon

Dear business partner,

According to the lunar calendar, 2024 is the year of the wood dragon.

The dragon represents authority, prosperity, and good fortune. Those who were born in the year of the dragon are known for their captivating demeanor, distinct personality, and strong leadership abilities.

Below we would like to share the dates of public holidays in China 2024:

  • International New Year         Jan 1
  • Chinese New Year                 February 10 – 17
  • Qing Ming Festival                Apr 4 – 6
  • Labor Day                              May 1 – 5
  • Dragon Boat Festival           Jun 10
  • Mid-Autumn Festival            Sep 15 – 17
  • National Day                          Oct 1 – 7
Current sea freight situation

Current sea freight situation

Repeated attacks by the Houthis in Yemen on container ships in the Red Sea have caused sea freight rates to skyrocket. A third of the world’s container cargo is shipped via route Egypt’s Suez Canal connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean and is the fastest route to transport fuel, food and consumer goods from Asia and the Middle East to Europe.

Until early January, more than 180 ships had already been rerouted around the South African Cape of Good Hope to avoid the attacks. This increased travel times by seven to 20 days. Although rates have soared, they are still well below the pandemic-related record of $14,000 per container for shipments from Asia to northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

We wish our business partners and contacts all the best for 2024!

Days are getting longer now and we hope that the rainy weather in Northern Europe will soon fade away to make room for a colorful spring! Talking about spring, the Chinese “Spring Festival” or “Chinese New Year” is approaching in a few weeks time – on 10 February. According to the Lunar Calendar, 2024 is the year of the wood dragon.The dragon is related to success, intelligence and honour. Wood dragons are full of energy and dream of changing the world.

Below we would like to share the dates of all public holidays in China 2024:

International New Year   Jan 1

Chinese New Year   Feb 10 – 17

Qing Ming Festival   Apr 4 – 6

Labor Day   May 1 – 5

Dragon Boat Festival   Jun 8 – 10

Mid Autumn Festival   Sep 15 – 17

National Day   Oct 1 – 7

Merry Christmas and a good start in 2024!

Merry Christmas and a good start in 2024!

During this season, we take time to reflect upon the good things we have… like the partnership with our business contacts. We hope that the holidays and the coming year will bring happiness and success to all our partners. Thank you very much for your support in 2023.