Freight rates from China are still high due to a shortage of containers — and it’s not likely to get better until the end of the year. Freight rates of between 16000USD and 20000USD per 40ft box are now being talked about for the China – UK shipping routes. The is an astonishing 10 times would normally be paid around this time of the year.

Driven on by container shipments from China which are at their highest levels ever, and that’s helping to drive up freight rates. However, the demand for containers is growing so rapidly that the global supply of containers isn’t able to keep up with demand. The result is sky-high freight prices.

The only way to solve the container shortage is to increase the amount of containers being produced, and that’s a problem because there are only a few container manufacturers in the world. The shortage isn’t going to disappear overnight as even if more containers are introduced into the shipping lines equipment pools they still have to be transported to the areas which have the equipment shortage.

Further compounding this issues are the amounts of container ships moored off the coast of San Francisco all waiting for a berth to offload. The anchoring of these ships has caused the San Francisco Bay to become one giant floating port. The anchoring of these ships is also contributing to the container shortage.

Covid outbreaks in the China Ports are also continuing to disrupt the loading and unload of vessels resulting in considerable delays in getting loaded containers out of China and empties back to the China Factories. The Chinese government is trying to speed up the unloading of containers to the ports so they can get the containers out of the ports and into the factories. However it has had limited impact on the overall freight rates.

For now all that shippers, freight forwarders and buyers keep hoping that the worst is over and that rates will finally begin to fall. However all indication is rates will remain above normal until after Chinese new year 2022.