On 25 January, CNBC reported that shipping costs have skyrocketed as desperate companies wait weeks for containers and pay premium rates to get them, as critical shortage of containers is driving up shipping costs and delays for goods purchased from China. In December, spot freight rates were 264% higher for the Asia to North Europe route, compared with a year ago. It is said that the Chinese are being so aggressive about trying to get empty containers back that it is hard to get a container for US exporters. On 3 February, Fresh Plaza reported that Australian food exporters were also affected by the shortage and Covid-19 protocols. On 2 February, gCaptain reported that the global competition for the ribbed steel containers means that Thailand can’t ship its rice, Canada is stuck with peas and India can’t offload its mountain of sugar. Shipping empty boxes back to China has become so profitable that even some US soybean shippers are having to fight for containers to supply hungry Asian buyers.
I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y