Chinese shipping indices show a surge in the price of shipping goods out of two major Chinese ports. The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index and the Ningbo Containerized Freight Index, representing two of the three biggest container ports in the world, rose around 100 percent each since late August.
While the later part of the year usually sees an increased demand – and increased price - for shipping out of Asia as the Western world heads into the holiday season, a strong post-lockdown restocking demand elevated the indices to new heights. Prices surged even more as containers in Asia are becoming scarcer, instead piling up in North American and European ports. While the first wave of lockdowns in the coronavirus pandemic caused major economic turmoil and suppressed consumer spending, more workplaces are staying open during the second wave and people are spending again, favoring goods as services spending is still majorly restricted by coronavirus rules.
According to the L.A. Times, there were already long wait times for docking space in the L.A. and Long Beach ports at the end of November. According to the report, coronavirus-related shortages of personnel and equipment are also slowing the port down as it deals with incoming cargo. While shipping volumes and prices are expected to remain high until Q1 of 2021, stricter lockdowns being reimplemented could lead to order cancelations, suppressing shipping costs similar to the situation the industry experienced during the first coronavirus wave.