New record prices for shipping containers Shanghai – Rotterdam

  • Prices for containers are going through the roof (and they were already so high)
  • International container traffic is still disrupted. Containers are extremely expensive.
  • The fact that a major Chinese port has reopened does little to change that.
  • The cost of shipping a container from Shanghai to Rotterdam has risen to a new record.

The Meishan terminal in eastern China is open again. The container terminal, the third-largest in the world, was closed on 11 August when one (yes: one) employee was found to have the delta variant of the coronavirus. The closure further disrupted international container traffic. The container terminal, part of the large port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, is very important for that transport.

Through the terminal, products manufactured in China such as furniture, toys, household goods and car parts find their way to Europe and the US. When the terminal was closed, arriving container ships diverted to other ports, such as those of Shanghai and Hong Kong. There, congestion ensued. Earlier this year, a major port in southern China has temporarily closed due to a dozen coronas. Other ports also became congested then.

Explosive increase in transport costs

Many sectors have been suffering from the explosive increase in transport costs for months. There is a great scarcity of containers and container ships on major sea routes now that the economic recovery from the corona pandemic is moving faster than expected. There are also congested ports and Chinese terminals were temporarily closed due to localised corona outbreaks.

Continuing imbalance


International container traffic has been disrupted for a year and a half. After the first outbreak of the virus, China immediately closed its ports. Ports in other countries followed suit. When trade picked up again after the summer, many containers were lying where they were not needed. In addition, large shipping companies had taken some of their ships out of service. The fact that the Suez Canal was blocked for a few days in March this year by a jammed container ship did not help the flow of goods either.

This imbalance has still not disappeared. Many container ships have been delayed and the prices for hiring containers have gone through the roof. In March, Dutch shippers complained about the high prices: it cost an average of USD 4900 to get a large container of goods from Shanghai to Rotterdam, more than three times as much as before the corona crisis.

freightender-logistics-procurement-softeare

Shipping companies are the lucky ones

In the meantime, the shippers would like to see those March tariffs back. In July, the price for a large container (40 feet) was over USD 11,000 and last week, according to maritime research agency Drewry, Carriers currently charge an average of USD 13,787 (EUR 11,721) per container between the Chinese and Dutch ports: 6.5 to 7.5 times as much as a year ago.

The big shipping companies such as Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd are the big winners, and in the past twelve months, they have made profits they could only daydream about in previous years.

More from the Freightender blog

Pieter Kinds

Pieter Kinds

CEO Freightender.com

Freightender is the standard in freight tendering. It makes the tender process lean, smarter and much faster. 
Fully cloud-based. Curious? Request a free live demo and join the Freight Tender Revolution!

Schedule Demo Freight Sourcing

Schedule Demo RFQ Management

Demand for logistics procurement software is increasing dramatically in 2021

The logistics business has been in crisis for well over a year, with no signs of relief in sight as freight prices continue to increase and capacity constraints worsen. Logistics is a somewhat arcane and opaque profession to most people, but it has recently gained...

Freightender and Drewry partner to bring all-in-one ocean freight procurement

Global shipping consultancy, Drewry and Freightender are pleased to announce they have entered a value-add partnership, combining Drewry’s industry-leading ocean freight cost benchmarking and procurement support services with Freightender’s cloud-based,...

Freightender Podcast: Digitization in Logistics and Procurement

Pieter Kinds, founder and CEO of Freightender, in conversation with Martijn Graat, founder of LogisticsMatter, a leading online supply chain and logistics news platform from the Netherlands. Podcast: Digitization in Logistics and the Procurement of Freight The...

Ocean capacity crunch fuels the importance of modern logistics software

Ongoing extreme events that impact global trade and logistics keep on happening and require logistics teams to be more flexible and agile to handle chaos and the unforeseen. While strategic thinking is very much required, tactical action is key. The right partnerships...

What is managed freight procurement? What are the benefits?

What is freight or logistics procurement and is there a difference between the terms procurement, purchasing and buying? We explain why procurement is of added value to your organisation. And we take a closer look at the increasingly 'in demand' managed freight...

Freightender and Pagero partner to offer seamless end-to-end process for freight buyers

February 25th, 2021 The joint offering integrates both company apps to provide an “unprecedented array” of logistics functionalities for buyers in the transportation industry. Freightender and Pagero have entered a partnership to provide a seamless supply chain...

Freightender CEO Pieter Kinds in panel TPM21 by JOC

Freightender CEO Pieter Kinds will join the TPM21 panel on the 25th of February. He will be speaking about using a data-based approach to Freight Procurement and Allocation. Rate benchmarking and freight procurement data As many people in the logistics industry are...

Talking tenders, mini-bids and digitalisation with Freightender CEO Pieter Kinds

It’s been a rollercoaster year for just about everyone in the logistics industry, and Freightender CEO Pieter Kinds is certainly no exception. Since the start of the year, the Dutchman has re-branded his company, navigated the troublesome waters of the pandemic, and...

How shippers and forwarders can streamline the freight tender process

In the forwarder world, there are a lot of people you typically don’t deal with as a shipper yet they are handling and responding to your tender: tender managers, pricing managers and pricing analysts. Their job is often performed under high pressure from the outside...

Freightender and Portrix Logistic Software partner to empower freight forwarder tender teams

Sep 28 2020 at 09:23 AM In 2020, the need for digitization in logistics has really accelerated and this is especially true for the freight forwarding community. One of the main areas of focus for forwarders is how freight tenders are being managed today– often a...