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LACK OF CONTAINERS HURTS GLOBAL TRADE

 


A global shortage of containers continues to hurt global trade with the local freighters feeling the impact as they grapple with delays in deliveries. The situation is even set to get worse as stakeholders in the marine sector project that the shortage, which began last year and attributed to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, will persist until 2022. This implies that consumers will have to wait longer for their deliveries and cope with high cost of goods which is in line with an increase in price of containers.

“We are now witnessing delays in our deliveries and high freight costs, for instance a cargo that we were to deliver say in July ends up being delivered in August,” says a Client from Mombasa Port Kenya, In Eastern Africa.

Shippers are waiting for up to three weeks before they could get empty containers with the shortage in supply having a negative impact on cost. Covid-19 pandemic, which is still rampant in Europe and America, has contributed to the shortage as shipping containers are not returning to China due to drastic reduction of Beijing imports.

A global surge in demand for certain goods during the pandemic has upended normal trade flows, stranding empty cargo containers and leading to bottlenecks. As a result, shippers have been forced to pay a premium in order to get shipping containers as the world continues to witness a shortage that has seen freight charges continue on an upward trajectory.

The shortage has seen the cost of cargo change every month as opposed to previously where shippers would have a catalogue that indicated the freight charges for a certain period of time. The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from China moved up to $5,092 from S$3,055 in December before settling at $6,000 in April, according to Kenya's traders lobby.

The fall in cargo has been occasioned by the effects of the Covid-19 and a shortage of containers that have affected the shipping industry across the world.