Shipping rates from Asia to the UK have now reached record highs, with industry experts believing this is to do with the impact of the pandemic and the ensuing disruption to global supply chains and the end of the Brexit transition period, which drove up the number of imports towards the end of last year.
According to the Guardian, rates for containers coming from Asia have risen nearly fourfold since November, with chief commercial officer for Maersk Vincent Clerc explaining that there are not enough containers to cope with the levels of demand.
And head of global container freight markets at S&P Global Platts George Griffiths made further comments, saying that these soaring prices are down to a lack of empty containers in Asian ports.
“The ongoing problem is that there’s just a lack of empty containers in key exporting hubs, specifically across Asia, so there aren’t any available to export goods into the Europe and UK markets. This has created a real imbalance,” he went on to say.
Mr Griffiths further explained that while it would have taken just a couple of days for a container arriving in the UK to be unloaded and then make the return journey, but recently it has taken two to three weeks to unload containers because of skeleton port staff on site amid the pandemic.
Icy conditions at China’s northern ports may also be having an impact on shipping activity and cargo deliveries, with the region also currently experiencing fuel shortages as a result of record low temperatures.
According to S&P Global, floating ice is proving problematic at the moment, with vessels now being urged to follow precautions, such as maintaining safe speeds and draining the water from the deck piping system to avoid pipes cracking.
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