Two years ago, the world was resurfacing from its first (and strictest) lockdown, but not from the historic crisis into which the Covid-19 pandemic had plunged it. After two months of unavoidable pause, the world economy was about to swing from paralysis to overheating. For transport, it was an unprecedented situation: after demand had been at a standstill, a rush for containers and huge port congestion took place. Not to mention the aftermath, with tariff surges that led rates between China and Europe to jump from 1,800 USD/FEU in June 2020 to more than 15,000 USD/FEU in the fall of 2021!

2020, the urgent necessity to stay informed to cope with widespread uncertainties

At OVRSEA, this spring of 2020 has been a defining moment.

Every week we received questions and concerns from our customers. As we exchanged with you, we realised that an information tool such as a market thermometer could help the merchant’s community to gain clarity and make smarter choices. This is how Le Chargeur, the French and first version of The Good Shipper was born, a newsletter dedicated to international transport, with a strong operational focus: news on sanitary restrictions, market developments, practical advice... Every week, our customers will receive in their mailboxes the essential information and keys to understanding transport, in two minutes of reading time.

First edition: 10 June 2020.

What we did not foresee was that Le Chargeur would prove to be even more necessary than we had hoped. It was the beginning of a deeper crisis in the global supply chain, a paradoxical crisis of overactivity and disruptive global events. In this historic turmoil, Le Chargeur proved its relevance week after week. The continued growth of its subscriber base is proof of this. Thank you for your support!

Two years of turmoil and historical shocks

Based on the belief that agility is only achievable through a meticulous and honest analysis of the state of the market, the newsletter has informed and accompanied you during two particularly complicated years:

In the summer of 2020, port congestion appears, rates soar, and container shortages are observed. At the end of 2020, as it records its 1000th subscriber, The Merchant also covers the "chaos" of Brexit at the British borders.

The year 2021 is marked by a succession of unforeseen shocks. Le Chargeur will be the witness and the messenger: accidental blockage of the Suez Canal, paralysis of the Yantian container terminal in Shenzhen, closure of part of Shanghai Pudong airport in August, the Omicron wave at the end of the year…

However, 2021 will also see the incredible awakening of rail freight between China and Europe, thanks to the infrastructure of the New Silk Road. Together, we have highlighted over the months how rail is emerging from the crisis as a winner and opening new opportunities.

2021, Le Chargeur gets a new look

The second half of 2021 will also have seen improvements, with an improved design and structure. Le Chargeur has been refined to better respond to shippers' issues and problems, notably by highlighting the sector's environmental initiatives ("Greener freight ahead"). The monthly "Shipper's profile" interview is now available, featuring an OVRSEA customer who is invited to share his experience and advice.

And at the end of November 2021, Le Chargeur gets its 3000th subscriber!

Spain, United States, Italy... Le Chargeur broadens its horizons

Although 2022 was once heralded as the year of a return to normalcy, it was quickly overtaken by geopolitical reality. The latest shock is perhaps the most disturbing: the war in Ukraine, which broke out at the end of February, has shaken the transport world and reshuffled the cards. Fuel prices are soaring, global growth is slowing, inflation is soaring, and the New Silk Road's main rail route is suddenly dry. In such a context, getting informed has never been so important.

Two years already. Two years that have put our nerves to the test! As the era of uncertainty continues unabated, we want more than anything for Le Chargeur to remain a weekly landmark for all of us in the rush of transport news.

But after two years of keeping its finger on the pulse of international freight every week, Le Chargeur is taking another step forward... and is going abroad! In January, El Expedidor was launched in Spain, closely followed by The Good Shipper in the United States in February, and Il Mercante in Italy in May. This is just the beginning…

The Good Shipper becomes The Merchant.

Today, you are more than 5000 following us around the world, a number that keeps increasing and makes us proud. Thank you for reading us every week, and thank you for sharing your comments, encouragement and ideas with us so that we can provide you with ever more useful information daily.

Click here to subscribe for free to the Merchant and receive each week a summary of the latest freight news in English, French, Spanish and Italian.