At this point in time, surging shipments into the US States are fueling record freight costs and logjams at seaports. However, transportation executives say this process rally will lose steam with a second wave of COVID-19 restrictions on the cards.
Container shipping companies, which move goods for customers got into hot water late last year and early this year when COVID-19 halted trade around the world. Now, the question is whether the US import boom can be sustained.
"Let's not get carried away," Rolf Habben Jansen, chief executive of Germany's Hapag Lloyd told reporters. "This is just a spike that no one has foreseen in an unusual period. There will be a correction to that."
US consumer confidence ticked up in September, when retail sales accelerated. Still, consumers are eating through savings, layoffs are mounting and the country just set a record for new COVID-19 infections.
In recent weeks, the cost of transporting goods from Asia to the United States - one of the world’s biggest retail markets – topped $4,500 per 40-foot container unit (FEU), the highest recorded level, data from S&P Global Platts Containers showed.
“We are sold out. The ships are 100% full. The containers are 100% full. You can’t get a container,” Jeremy Nixon, CEO of Japanese container group Ocean Network Express (ONE), said at a recent International Chamber of Shipping virtual event.