Container shortages and surging freight rates

Container shortages and surging freight rates

20. January 2021
Freight rates

Freight rates have been rising steadily for months. This is mainly due to the current container shortages. But back to the beginning, how did the container shortages actually come about?

There are several factors that have contributed to the container shortages. The main reason is COVID-19. Whereas China seems to have the Corona pandemic well under control again and has significantly boosted production, other countries like the USA, for example, are affected by closures, production stops and a lack of manpower. On the one hand, this delays the return of containers to Asia. Thus, a large number of containers are standing at the port while the demand for products from China has increased strongly. On the other hand, you see extreme demand fluctuations. With the enormous decrease in shipment volumes, the shipping lines reduced the number of ships to stabilize their costs. The reduced number of ships, in turn, limits the ability to collect all the empty containers. The result is that the capacities on the container ships are maxed out. The ports are congested, and the freight rates are increasing immensely.

Starting end of August to mid January, the FBX11 has shown that the prices for 40 ft containers from China to Europe have increased up to 350 %. The FBX stands for Freightos Baltic Index. It is the leading international Freight Rate Index, in cooperation with the Baltic Exchange, providing market rates for 40′ containers (FEUs). You can find more information at:

This infographic is part of our limbiq updates. Our limbiq updates include not only beautiful infographics with the latest figures on supply chain matters but also interesting articles bringing light in the world of logistics. And, of course, the latest features of 

Your registration could not be saved. Please try again.
Your registration was successful. Please check your emails to confirm your email address.

We keep you up to date. 

Sign up for our limbiq updates and receive the latest news directly in your inbox. 

Related Stories

Mode of Transport
11. November 2020

Different Modes of Transport – Advantages and Disadvantages

Sea, air, rail freight or truck – which mode of transport is the right one for my shipment? The choice of the appropriate transport type depends on various factors, e.g. size, time, infrastructure, costs and the type of product to be shipped.

Corona vaccine
27. November 2020

Corona Vaccine – The Logistical Challenges

Currently, there is great hope for the development of the COVID 19 vaccine to combat the pandemic worldwide. The vaccine from BionTech and Pfizer is close to approval. Other companies such as CureVac and Moderna are also well advanced in the development. Biontech’s vaccine particularly, is likely to be confronted by major logistical challenges, in view of its worldwide distribution.

Tracking & Tracing
3. February 2021

Track and Trace: More transparency for supply chain management

Track & Trace is no longer a foreign word to us all. But what exactly is it all about? What requirements should a good track & trace system meet? With a Track & Trace or Tracking and Tracing system, the status of a shipment can be tracked and monitored both before and after delivery. If, for example, a shipment has not reached the consignee, it is easy to check what its last location was.