Rates for shipping containers continue to skyrocket amid "blank sailings " in Jan, 2021

29 Dec 2020

By Arthur Chen

Do you agree the reason of liners increase their price in ocean transportation?

Some carriers claimed they had lost 20% volume from Jan to April 2020 which mean they have lost 6-7 million revenue daily during these few months so as to make the blooding ceased was to cancel sailing schedules or so-call " blank sailings". This way could save huge money in the operation cost. It sounds "reasonable", however, the thing carriers did not tell us behind the scene was the " blank sailings " would cause the supply & demand in balance. The weight on seesaw turns into demand so as to supply shortage raised the ocean price going up.

Following the lock down in everywhere, people restrain in homes, labors short in side of seaports, ramps, trucks, rails station that caused large number of containers stuck there without breaking down or took much longer transiting from 1 to 3 weeks or longer from ports to railway and retrieve empty containers even over months to move back Asia which main manufactories located.

In 1st, 2nd quarters from Asia to west coast US stayed in USD$ 3000/40’, started from 3rd, early 4th quarter already reached USD$ 6000/40'. Unbelievably, USD$ 10,000/40' have successfully arrived in the last week of DEC, 2020. Ironically, carriers will keep on making " blank sailings " in Jan, 2021 by the reason of " severe shortage of empty containers" in Asia and we predict the sky-high price may go toward another historical level than ever. The fiscal reports in every carrier have showed 2020 is the most profitable year in past 30 years. I have been in the logistics and supply chain management over 30 years and I would say it is my first time to experience over 5 digits in standard container rate. Do you accept the sky-high rate by all reasons claimed by carriers?

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