China: spot rates up 91% compared to last year


Spot rates for shipping a container from China / East Asia to North America rose by 91% in November 2018 compared to last year, according to an analysis of Freightos Baltic Index data.

It cost an average of $2,552 per TEU to ship to North America's West Coast, and $3,650 per TEU to ship to the East Coast over the past four weeks. In November 2017, spot rates averaged $1,332 and $1,907 per TEU, respectively.

This month's spot rates remain at least 34% higher, when compared to 2016. In November 2016, it cost $1,892 per TEU to ship to the West Coast, and $2,654 per TEU to ship to the East Coast.

Analysts predicted this peak season would be more expensive than previous years due to limited capacity, high crude oil costs and a general shift in transportation cycles. Combined with continually rising demand for imports, as seen by rising loaded container volumes at ports, spot rates were bound to rise.

But such trends could be seen, at least in some form, in the transportation cycles of 2016 and 2017, too.

One big difference this year is that tariffs entered force between the U.S. and China in June, August and September. Reports suggest the trade war has caused shippers to accelerate their shipments before tariffs rise.

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