Desperate bidding wars for empty containers / Forwarding agents operating in “stone-age mode”?
Container freight rates are experiencing a veritable boom (Photo: Arnold)
Prices for container shipments are getting crazier by the week: Latest Plasteurope.com research shows that the rate for transporting a 40-foot container from China to Northern Europe rose to USD 9,000 (EUR 7,500) in the week ending 16 May 2021. This represents a huge 8% hike in just one week (see Plasteurope.com of 12.05.2021). Sending supplies to Mediterranean ports is even more expensive: Importers there are having to pay an average of USD 9,375 (EUR 7,810).

Crossing the Atlantic from Northern Europe to the US East Coast is also increasingly becoming a luxury. The freight rate for a container now stands at USD 3,750 (EUR 3,125) – up almost 5% over the previous week.

But citing just the prices tells only half the story – the true situation is far more ruthless. Industry news service Lloyd’s List reports that the shortage of empty containers and transport capacities is now so dramatic that desperate freight forwarders are engaged in bidding battles for passage slots, especially for the China-Northern Europe route. Word is spreading of astronomical prices of almost USD 20,000 (EUR 16,435) for a 40-foot container. Despite intensive efforts, the Plasteurope.com price team was unable to obtain official confirmation of this rumour.

Thus, it’s no wonder that increasing numbers of domestic forwarders are surreptitiously complaining about the “ugly face” of the logistics industry. They claim that forwarding agents are increasingly switching to a kind of “stone-age mode”, where only the person willing to pay the most prevails. The binding nature of delivery contracts is now worth no more than the “loyalty oath of a football coach in Germany’s soccer-league”.

This frustration is understandable, given spot price calls of USD 11,500-14,000 (EUR 9,460-11,517). Expressed in terms of price per tonne of plastic pellets, we are rapidly approaching the EUR 500/t mark.
18.05.2021 Plasteurope.com [247645-0]
Published on 18.05.2021
Logistik: Verzweifelte Bieterschlachten um leere Container auf den WeltmeerenGerman version of this article...

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Date of print: 27.05.2022 23:23:54   (Ref: 91257706)
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