Shippers hit by double whammy of record rates and surcharges
With shippers facing skyrocketing container freight rates and premium fees across main and secondary trades, ocean carriers are now pummeling their customers with a mass of equipment imbalance and intermodal surcharges, website The Loadstar reports.
The strategy of carriers is to get as many boxes back to Asia in the shortest possible time to take advantage of exceptionally strong demand and record high rates, and to do so it is hitting shippers with extra costs.
The Loadstar reported last week that Asia-North Europe carriers were charging up to $5,000 per 40ft for guaranteed equipment and space on ships from Asia, but, under the radar, backhaul rates have also been spiking and are up over 100% year on year.
Anecdotal reports to The Loadstar suggest that to guarantee a shipment to Asia, North European exporters are paying considerably more than the circa $1,200 per 40ft recorded by Drewry’s WCI index.
“The first problem is to find a carrier and a port that will accept our boxes, and after that there is normally some sort of add-on,” said a UK shipper.
“If we want to get our cargo shipped promptly we don’t really have any other option than to pay,” he added.
Meanwhile, European shippers of temperature-controlled cargo to the Middle East and Asia are also facing additional charges as the reefer equipment is in increasing demand on the headhaul Asia-Europe route as a substitute for standard containers to accommodate bookings of high-paying electronic goods.
In May we reported that the global container imbalance had been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.