Scarcity of containers and rapidly increasing freight rates presents challenges to logistics.
Exports of frozen salmon skyrocketed after flight cargo was decimated during the coronavirus period. Chile in particular has large frozen stocks of salmon, and increasing volumes of fish must be shipped in containers to the markets in the US, Europe and Asia.
- Read more: Over 15% drop in Chilean salmon exports expected due to lower air connectivity, says IATA
The pandemic has increased online shopping, ranging from books to toys and medical devices. Most of it is produced in factories in Asia. Asian countries produce much more than they import. Empty containers are being left in the receiving countries and the result is a precarious shortage of containers in Asia, reports the news site Dagens Næringsliv.
Shipping rates have also skyrocketed. The cost of transporting a container from China to the US West Coast was more than three times higher by the end of 2020 than a year ago. For the East Coast, it has more than doubled, according to the Baltic Exchange.
The latest statistics from S&P Global Platts show that it cost over GBP 10,000 to ship a container from Northeast Asia to the UK last week, a new record, and more than a fivefold increase in what is the norm.
South Korean shipping company HMM Co., part of the Hyundai Group, warned last week that the lack of physical containers and capacity onboard container ships is likely to continue over the next six months. The company has deployed several ships on routes to the United States.