China-US freight has exceeded 20,000 US dollars! Long-term contract freight rate rose by 28.1%!

Time: 2021-08-12


With the rebound of global economy and the recovery of commodity demand, shipping freight rates have been rising this year. With the arrival of the peak shopping season in the United States, the increasing orders from retailers have doubled the pressure on the global supply chain. At present, the container freight rate from China to the United States has exceeded US$ 20,000 /40-foot container, setting a record high.

The accelerated spread of Delta variant virus has led to a slowdown in global container turnover; The virus variant has a great influence on some Asian countries and regions, and prompted many countries to cut off seafarers' land passage. This made it impossible for the captain to rotate the tired crew. About 100,000 seafarers were trapped at sea after their term of office ended, and the crew's working hours exceeded the peak of the blockade in 2020. Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Shipping Association, said: "We are no longer at the cusp of the second crew replacement crisis, we are in a crisis."


In addition, floods in Europe (Germany) in the middle and late July, typhoons in the coastal areas of South China in late July and recently further damaged the global supply chain that has not recovered from the first pandemic.
These are several important factor that lead to a new high in container freight rate.
Philip Damas, general manager of Drewry, a maritime consultancy, pointed out that at present, global container transportation has become a seller's market with high confusion and insufficient supply; In this market, many shipping companies can charge freight four to ten times the normal price. Philip Damas said: "We have not seen this situation in the shipping industry for more than 30 years." He added that he expected this "extreme freight rate" to last until the Chinese New Year in 2022.


On July 28th, the Freightos Baltic Daily Index adjusted its method of tracking shipping rates, including all kinds of premium surcharges required for booking for the first time, which greatly improved the transparency of the actual cost paid by shippers. The latest index shows that:

  • The freight rate of each container on the China-US East route reached 20,804 US dollars, which was more than 500% higher than a year ago.
  • The cost between China and America is slightly less than 20,000 US dollars.
  • The latest rate in China-Europe is close to $14,000.

After the outbreak rebounded in some countries, the turnaround time of some major foreign ports slowed down to about 7-8 days.

The monthly increase of contract freight rate soared by 28.1%

According to Xeneta's data, the freight rate of long-term contract containers rose by 28.1% last month, which is the biggest monthly increase in history. The highest monthly increase was 11.3% in May this year. The index rose by 76.4% this year, and the data in July rose by 78.2% compared with the same period last year

The sharp rise of long-term contract freight came after the sharp rise of spot container freight. In July, the spot freight rate of European imports rose sharply by 49.1% to more than US$ 13,000 (FAK) per FEU, up 120.3% year-on-year. In July, XSI's Asian export index rose by 24.2%, up 110.4% year-on-year. In July, the spot rate of American imports rose by 17.7%, 61.2% higher than that of the same period last year.

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