Shipping rates flying high, again, on surging demand in Southeast Asia
By Chen Yurong
With the recovery of production and consumption in Southeast Asia, marine shipping prices were pushed up again after a short cooling period last month.
The situation was a headache for Chen Yang, general manager of a shipping agency based in eastern port city Ningbo. He told CMG the availability of shipping spaces to Southeast Asia is tight and the costs have risen.
Ports in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have seen freight rates top over $3,000, according to Chen, from around $200 to $300 before the COVID-19 outbreak.
During the pandemic, the price reached more than $1,000 and peaked over $2,000 around the Spring Festival in 2021, he said. "The current price should be at its highest point since the outbreak."
In November, the freight index of the route to Thailand and Vietnam increased by 72.2 percent on the previous month. Last week, the freight index of the route to Singapore and Malaysia increased by 9.8 percent on a weekly basis, according to data from Ningbo Shipping Exchange.
On December 3, the Shanghai Export Container Freight Index, which reflects the spot freight rate, was 4,727.06, up by 125.09 from a week ago.
"We are now facing the uncertainty of Omicron, and it may still take about two weeks to make a final assessment on the impact on overseas terminals and the potential lockdowns caused by the new variant," said Yan Hai, chief transport and shipping analyst from Shenwan Hongyuan Securities.
China's exports in November rose by 22 percent to $325.53 billion, according to China's General Administration of Customs.