Few improvements in the situation for container shipping
4 March 2021
For months, sea freight from the Far East has been suffering from a vast shortage of capacity. As a result, sea freight rates are at extremely high levels. Last month, we told you which developments we expected in this situation after the Chinese New Year. What are things like now?
Rate level high and stable
During the Chinese New Year, trade with China grinds to a near-complete halt. As a result, the supply of goods that “should quickly be dealt with beforehand” is always very significant. There is too much cargo and too little capacity, which drives up prices. After the Chinese New Year, the opposite happens. Factories were closed for the celebrations, and there is little cargo to be shipped. As a result, sea freight rates normally decrease.
By now, the Chinese New Year has ended. However, the sea freight rates have barely gone down. On the one hand, this is because the backlog of cargo that needs to be shipped has not been resolved yet. On top of that, there is still too little capacity. It seems, therefore, that the usual rate decrease will not take place this year. As a result, the sea freight rates will stay high and stable.
Container shortage still unresolved
Last month, we told you there was serious congestion worldwide. Ships have to wait for a long time before they can be unloaded. The USA and Europe especially suffer from serious delays. Because of this, it takes a long time for containers to become available again. As a result, in addition to delays, the congestion is also causing an increasing container shortage.
Fortunately, the container shortage in China is slowly decreasing. According to our agent, many ports now have sufficient containers available. However, since mass production is starting up again after the end of the Chinese New Year, we do not expect this to last. While there are slight improvements, the container shortage in China will not be resolved completely any time soon.
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