Container freight rates are continuing to surge


The SCFI (Shanghai Containerized Freight Index) for Europe jumped to $2,901 per TEU last week (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit / 20-foot standard container), up 170% from the same period last year.

The SCFI reading for the Mediterranean breached the $3000 mark and now sits at $3,073 per TEU. An increase of 203% compared to one year ago.

Container freight rates from Asia also continued to surge last week, reaching new highs above long-term sustainable shipping industry levels. SCFI rating recorded a 162% increase from last year at $2.311.71.

To make matters worse, there have been reports that the actual rates paid by shippers to secure the last remaining container spots are even higher than the SCFI indicates. Besides the rates, there are other fees to be paid, for example, equipment-related costs.


Equipment shortages and increased export volumes

One significant contribution to the problem is that shipping containers usually move back and forth on the same shipping route. With Covid-19, there are have been interruptions to international trade where many container ships are loaded and ship off to one port and then get stuck there. So, at the moment, there is an equipment shortage, many container ships that generally would be back in port and now suck at the wrong side of the sea.

At the same time, countries are recovering fast from the Covid-19 pandemic. Especially China's export volumes are going through the roof. Volume is booming, and carriers are not prepared to meet the demand, which causes container freight rates and shipping rates to spike globally.

EuroFreight continues to follow the development around container freight rates and its impact on Malta.

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