China-US shipping costs soar on pandemic restocking

China-US shipping costs soar on pandemic restocking

The cost of shipping goods from Asia to the US has soared in the past month as American companies seek to restock depleted inventories ahead of the holiday season and prepare for the pandemic to worsen over the winter.

Container shipping lines had cancelled hundreds of sailings in the early months of the pandemic as countries around the world closed their borders and global trade slowed. But the reinstatement of services has yet to restore balance in a market responsible for about 90 per cent of global trade.

Long term rates to the US west coast jumped by 12.7 per cent over the weekend following a 37.2 per cent increase on October 1 — the biggest overnight jump since 2015, according to international shipping association Bimco. Prices now stand 63.4 per cent higher than on the same day in 2019.

Prices from Asia to the east coast, meanwhile, are 25 per cent higher than this time last year.