World transportation is facing a new problem that, in particular, risks putting Chinese exporters in difficulty: the shortage of containers. The Financial Times writes.
The peak of exports from China, in a pandemic context that makes travel difficult, has created queues and waiting lists at ports, with an increase in freight costs. According to Chinese media, “even a box is hard to find.” According to the FT, the cost of renting a 40-foot (12-meter) container for the US quadrupled last year and a situation arose that we haven’t seen for twenty years: the containers are unable to return to Hong Kong.
China began to ride the economic recovery earlier than the other major world economies, and Beijing’s exports grew to record levels. But the rest of the world, still tangled in the bottlenecks of pandemic limitations, can’t keep up. The shortage of personnel, the delays increased by the reinforced controls in the ports mean that the return of empty containers from the ports of Europe and the United States is very slowed down.The consequence of this situation is an increase in the cost of freight transport, which leads also to many industries – especially in textiles – not being able to support it.
And even closing its doors. To make matters worse came the Lunar New Year holidays, which were actually a lot less holidays than usual. Precisely because of the risk of a new epidemic, the authorities and companies have asked their employees to continue working. This has led to not having the usual slowdown in production and, therefore, a better modulation with respect to the transport capacity of goods.
This situation also leads to the risk of an increase in the prices of the goods themselves, because companies are asking to retreat to customers, precisely to try to share the burden of the delay in transport.Ports are also trying to procure new containers. The Ningbo one, for example, obtained 730,000 new containers. However, even this rush to the container is causing an increase in prices due to excess demand. Currently the price of a container, which will be delivered in the summer, is $ 6,200.