A combination of fewer vessels on the water, an imbalance in trade flows to and from China, and competition between cargoes has kickstarted a rapid increase in shipping costs
for container freight out of China over the past two to three weeks.
The higher rates have already affected prices for a number of commodities, including white fused alumina (WFA), graphite and manganese flake.
Costs are spiraling to record highs on major routes out of China, including to Europe, North America, India, the Black Sea, and North and West Africa.
Several market sources have described an increase in their container freight costs of anything between 70% and 150% over the past in their latest November quotes against second-quarter rates. Quotes increased every few days over the past two weeks, sources said.
Quotes for the China-northern Europe (main ports) route have risen from below $1,000 per 20ft container in April this...