Exports from China surged 21% in November
A global shortage of shipping containers is blunted by China's world-beating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, hampering manufacturers from filling fast-recovering global goods orders.
As the country's mammoth industrial engine cranked out mountains of appliances, toys, clothing, personal protective equipment, and other products currently in high demand around the world, exports from China surged 21 percent in November from a year earlier.
But a serious shortage is now beginning to pinch export flows due to China's lopsided trade balance - exporting three containers for every one recently imported - and delays in containers returning to China as a result of the pandemic overseas.
"Boxes are piling up at our factory and we don't have much space left. It's just hard to book containers, and everyone is bidding for them with high prices," said a mirror salesman in the export manufacturing hub of Yiwu in Zhejiang.
According to the China Container Industry Association (CCIA), average container turnaround times have ballooned to 100 days from 60 days previously because of COVID-19-related handling capacity cuts in Europe and the United States, and that has worsened the shortage. U.S. importers have already reported issues in November with shipment delays.
Maritime freight demand has also been increased by the grounding of a major part of the global international passenger air fleet, which often also carries cargo.
Maritime Business World