Container rate in UK spikes

Container rates in the United Kingdom has spiked up due to increased demand ahead of the UK’s exit from the European Union, and importers seek to front-load ahead of this deadline at the start of January. Logistical delays seen at some UK ports has caused carriers to impose a congestion surcharge on both inbound and outbound containers from the UK.

Increase has also come alongside significant increases in spot freight demand for PPE in the current pandemic, a key driver in the market and one that has supported demand throughout the year as volumes for garments in particular have slumped, given the lower volumes of in-person shopping across the European continent.

Platts Container Rate 11 – North Asia-to-UK was assessed at $2,600/FEU on November 16, up from $2,000/FEU a month earlier.

Piling on further misery for carriers is an ongoing equipment shortage in Asia. This has stemmed from a lack of empty boxes at key exporting hubs, owing to the delay in returning these boxes as ports and importers operate skeleton staff levels during the pandemic. This has meant carriers are keen to return empty boxes to North Asia to clear the demand backlog that they are continuing to try and reduce, and so back haul rates have not seen the same upside as head haul rates on these routes.

Source: S&P Global Platts

Louis Gyan Kofi
Author: Louis Gyan Kofi

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