Global Trade

Air and ocean freight rates in an inflationary environment

April 30 2021

Air and ocean freight rates remain at high levels, in an inflationary economic context. 

The health crisis plunged most industrialised countries into a major economic recession. A vigorous but asymmetric recovery is in sight in the second quarter of 2021, driven by improved confidence among economic operators. In addition, economic support and recovery programmes in the United States, Europe and Asia are providing direct investment in the economy, which will produce a Keynesian multiplier effect for several semesters to come. The World Trade Organisation is forecasting an 8% increase in international trade volumes in 2021 following the 5.3% reduction seen in 2020.

On the other hand, the risk of inflationary tensions looks to have been confirmed. There were already indications that raw material, energy and freight transport prices were increasing in the first quarter of 2021. A V-shaped economic recovery often generates strong growth in numerous economic sectors but also raises the risk of stocks being exhausted and input prices being increased.  These parameters that influence the evolution of air and ocean freight prices.  

To find out more, see our international transport barometer.


  • Ocean freight rates settle at a high level 
  • Air freight volumes return to pre-crisis level
  • Economy in shock but sustained by recovery plans
  • Soaring oil prices



Subscribe to the newsletter

With over 20 years' experience in the financial sector, David is also an accomplished entrepreneur with a string of success stories to his name. His area of expertise is finance and innovation, which he uses to optimise the supply chain market.
See all its articles