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Graphic shows rising container shipping costs.


Container-shipping costs surge to record highs

By Duncan Mil

August 27, 2021 - The cost of sending a shipping container from China to Europe has surged 637 per cent in a year, while the cost to the U.S. has more than tripled, according to the Drewry World Container Index.

A standard FEU -- a forty-foot equivalent unit -- currently costs US$13,787 to be shipped from Shanghai to Rotterdam, up from $1,871 in August 2020. The cost of shipping it from Shanghai to Los Angeles has increased from $3,392 to $11,362 -- a hike of 235 per cent, according to Drewry shipping consultants.

Freight rates are surging because demand is outstripping the availability of containers that carry most global trade.

The spread of the delta variant of coronavirus in Southeast Asia has meant even a small number of cases can cause significant disruptions to trade and shipping.

This month the Chinese government temporarily closed part of the world’s third-busiest container port at Ningbo-Zhoushan for two weeks after a single dockworker test positive for the delta variant. In May, authorities shutter the Yantian terminal in Shenzhen box port after discovering a handful of coronavirus cases.

PUBLISHED: 27/08/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Associated Press