Cost of shipping goods from China to Europe has increased more than six-fold

As a shortage of empty cargo containers and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupts global trade, the cost of shipping goods from China to Europe has increased more than a six-fold. The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from China to Europe has jumped from around $2000 (£1500) a year ago to more than $15,000 in January, according to the figures from shipping data and analytics company Xeneta, before correcting to $11,00 at the start of July.

Shipping costs soared as consumers unleashed pent-up savings to buy merchandise while the pandemic continued to disrupt the world’s supply chains. Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund: “All off the sudden, people started buying a lot of cargo mid-pandemic and the problem now is that those containers are in the wrong places of the world. They are in Europe and in the US and not back in Asia.”

Thousands of empty containers were left abandoned in European and American ports in the first half of 2020 as COVID caused international trade to collapse.

Danish shipping giant Maersk, Switzerland-based MSC and France’s CMA CGM all announced that they would no longer take bookings for goods from Russia and were suspending most deliveries to the country. Citing the impact of sanctions, “bookings to and from Russia will be temporarily suspended, with exception of foodstuffs, medical and humanitarian supplies,” Maersk said in a statement.


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