Shipping costs quadruple to record highs on China-Europe ‘bottleneck’

The cost of shipping goods from China to Europe has quadrupled and reached a record high. This rise in prices is due to a shortage of containers and a recovery in consumer demand, according to the Financial Times. Shipping costs for a 40-foot container from Asia to Northern Europe rose from about $ 2,000 in November to more than $ 9,000, according to shippers and importers.

Lars Jensen (SeaIntelligence, a consulting firm), notes: “This is a bottleneck problem. These rates are driven by customers competing for a limited resource — containers”. Thousands of empty containers remained in Europe and the United States in the first half of 2020, when shipping companies canceled hundreds of flights. When Western demand for Asian-made goods recovered in the second half of the year, competition among shippers for affordable containers led to a sharp rise in freight rates.

Philip Edge, chief executive of UK freight forwarder Edge Worldwide, said some businesses were being charged $12,000 per container, up from about $2,000 in October.

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