High freight rates and shipping congestion issues are now expected to continue into mid-2022, experts are warning, particularly if the Omicron coronavirus variant prompts fresh containment measures in the US or China.

Though global trade volumes have recovered sharply since the 2020 slowdown, this year has been characterised by logistic and cost issues affecting maritime goods trade.
The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from Asia to northern Europe has increased from about $2,000 in November to more than $9,000, according to shippers and importers.


weeks, hitting record highs as a shortage of empty containers stemming from the pandemic disrupts global trade.

Maersk Sees Global Shipping Markets Staying Tight Into 2022
A. P. Moller-Maersk A/S expects shipping markets to remain tight at least into the first quarter with global container demand set to grow faster than previously expected.

Early term contract discussion ranges for 2022-23 have risen significantly in the containers market, market sources told Platts, despite shippers hoping that spot rates would cool off in the coming year. Rather, early negotiations for the upcoming contract season, starting April, point to an unrelenting bullishness as the discussed price range is sharply higher than the current year, by between 20% and 100%.
Reference: https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/shipping/121021-early-2022-23-contract-discussions-see-container-rates-surge-terms-evolve

Port congestion and shortage of shipping containers drive search for alternatives.


Alongside air and sea freight, rail freight transport is now an increasingly attractive way of sending goods between China and Europe. The main benefits are speed and cost. Rail freight transport is faster than sea freight, and more cost-effective than air freight.

Backed by investments from the Chinese government, the rail freight transport enables goods from northern and central China to be transported directly to many countries in Europe, in some cases with the last-mile delivery served by truck or short sea routes. We look at the advantages of rail freight transport between China and Europe, the main routes, and some practical considerations when shipping goods by rail.

Reference: Anxious European importers turn to trucks to get Chinese goods