Pent up demand from Covid lockdowns, bottle necks at ports and labour shortages are all factors driving up ocean freight rates.

This year the Freightos global container rate index is just short of $6000 per TEU, up nearly three fold from a year ago.

The most expensive rates are China/North Asia to Northern Europe ($11,006) and China/North Asia to US East coast ($8,836).

By contrast exporters shipping from North America or Europe to North Asia are seeing rates between $700-1400. Many containers are coming back empty.

My understanding is that the spread between out and inbound container prices is likely to widen further; some in the industry are talking about $20,000/teu freight rates on the North Pacific routes.

Clients reliant upon APAC manufacturing are having to respec products and push through price increases to retail customers, even at the risk of losing volumes.

On the other hand, It’s a great time to be a European or American car manufacturer, agricultural supplier or even dog food company.