02 December 2020


Container shortages have increased even
more due to slow turnaround times.
A study conducted at the Fraunhofer Maritime Logistics and Services Center and container repositioning service Container xChange found that equipment was idle for an average of 45 days despite high demand levels.
In regions with low container availability such as China and the USA, the average increased to 61 days and 66 days, respectively.
"While container availability in China is still at a record low, US ports are overwhelmed by the surge of shipping containers from Asia, and product retailers are willing to hit the shelves for the holidays," said Container xChange.
The number of empty containers in Asian ports has declined as more containers arrive in the US. Overloaded US ports slowed the container turnaround time, exacerbating the problem, causing prices to rise and further delays for US importers.
“Container shipping costs from China to the US west coast rose from $ 1,648 per feu at the end of May to $ 3,850 per feu through mid-September,” he said. “In the same period, container availability in Asia as measured by the Container xChange Index, It fell into a severe famine of 0.17, about 50% lower than September 2019, down 37%. "
Lobbying efforts by Chinese regulators to avoid raising freight rates in transpacific trade put a limit on rates to the US, but the continued shortage of equipment has led to higher rates in other trades.
BIMCO reported that a record 325,980 empty containers were shipped from Los Angeles in October.
This posed problems for US exporters, as carriers prioritized the rapid return of voids over the shipping of export containers to take advantage of strong backhaul freight rates.
However, these strong rates are leaking into other transactions as well.
“As empty containers are prioritized for the more profitable transpacific lane, fewer containers are available on the other lanes,” said Container xChange. "This capacity shortage contributed to the increase in the rates from Asia to Northern Europe by 30% in November to $ 2,772 per feu, up to 86% year-on-year."