The covid Pandemic brought with is a disruption of the global supply chain and a a tremendous momentum to the maritime transportindustry. A shutdown in many airlines limited the ability to transport goods via air, combined with the rise of online commerce caused the maritime transport industry to experienceparticularly high demand. In Dec 2020 about 30% more goods where transported compared to Dec 2019.
Large shipping companies, port operators and logistics giants were not prepared for the massive increase in demand, and the situation has led since November to a sharp jump in maritime transport tariffs.
An all timehigh volume and congested ports, the international shipping industry is currently experiencing a unique situation of container shortage, which of course also raises the shipping rates.
Several reasonsled to this situation –increased demand, reduction in labor force in the portsand a sharp trade imbalance between the US and China due to Covid 19 restrictions causeda situation where containers that arrived in the US were not sent back to China. (only about 4 containers in 10 that arrived in the US were sent back!)
Obviously, thehigher shipping rates are affecting lower value and lower margin goods much more drastically than they are affecting high value goods.
What lies ahead? China has already taken steps to increase the supply of new containers, Carriers are also taking measures to make the loading and uploading process more efficient so time at the ports could be reduce, yet it is expected that the high freight rates to and from the east will remain with us for a while until this is resolved.