Shipping Container Shortages Negatively Impacting Global Food Export

Critical shortages of shipping containers is causing price hikes and further delays on goods shipped from China. Freight rates have risen by as much as 300% on goods coming from China to the US and Europe.

Spot rates for shipping containers are as high as $6,000 per container, up from the usual $1,200 price tag. 

The container shortage has affected all goods coming from Asian countries, but has affected e-commerce companies and consumers the hardest. 

The reason for this surge in shipping prices is largely due to the one sided nature of exports between China and western nations. In an interview with CNBC, Mark Yeager of Redwood Logistics said that, “for every 3 containers China ships out, they’re only getting 1 back.” In other words, all of the containers necessary to ship these exports are stuck in the West.

The issue has been further compounded by a lack of passenger air travel. These passenger planes can often stow freight cargo in the extra space not taken up by passenger luggage. Fewer planes flying has resulted in an even further bottleneck to the already dire shipping situation, which IKEA Singapore has called a “global transport crisis” on Facebook.

New containers have been ordered to help alleviate the pressure, but are unlikely to be ready any time soon. The Shanghai International Shipping Research Centre believes that the shortage of containers will likely remain a problem for at least the next 3 months.


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