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Container Crisis Continues To Disrupt World Trade - Road Transport Rates Reach Record Levels

Published 30 Jun 2021

Container Crisis Continues To Disrupt World Trade - Road Transport Rates Reach Record Levels

Container Crisis Continues To Disrupt World Trade - Road Transport Rates Reach Record Levels


Apart from all the social upheavals, the Corona pandemic is also having a considerable impact on international trade. Since freight container capacities for the transport of goods from Asia to Europe are currently only available in far too small numbers, and the existing containers are not where they should be - namely in Asia - due to the interrupted plans caused by the pandemic, there are considerable problems in the international movement of goods.


The Ebbing Of The Corona Pandemic Drives Rising Transport Demand


The Corona crisis has disrupted international supply chains. But as the pandemic subsides, transport orders are piling up unexpectedly for carriers. Despite - and because of - Covid-19 and its lockdown, the demand for container transport has skyrocketed for almost six months.

The industry is experiencing enormous demand especially in groupage transport, where several carriers usually join together to form distribution networks. These system networks have recorded record figures in the first quarter of 2021. A positive development can definitely be seen.

Something similar now also applies to full truck loads (FTL). The first shippers are again registering a shortage of loading space with noticeably rising freight rates.


Transport Delays Tighten Supply


Another bottleneck in international trade is the unloading capacities in the destination countries. The huge demand and Covid-19 are also causing massive disruptions in the ports and in onward transport to the hinterland. For example, ships have to wait about ten days before they are even allowed to enter the port. Staff shortages due to lockdown measures, illnesses and quarantine exacerbate the situation.


Shortage Of Containers Not Only In Europe, But Worldwide


World trade is picking up again, boosted by China. But now transport capacities are becoming scarce. Above all, there is a worldwide shortage of containers.

A tense situation is being complained about in maritime supply chains, especially from Asia. As a result, there is a shortage of containers throughout Europe, and shipping space remains scarce and very expensive. The consequences are supply bottlenecks, especially for furniture, textiles and computer chips, and "selective increases in freight rates by a factor of eight compared to pre-crisis levels".

Empty containers are in short supply at the moment. Due to all the delays in ports, in canals and in land transport, containers are on the road much longer than normal. In addition, containers are often waiting longer at the customer's until they can be processed. Simply buying new ones is not an option either, because container manufacturers are also working at the limit and prices have risen enormously.

Experts assume that the shortage of empty containers will continue until 2022.


Road Transport Rates Reach Record Levels


Prices for road transport are climbing to a three-year high. Freight rates are currently about three to four times higher than a year ago. Things don't look much better for sea and air freight. And there is no relief in sight.

Those who need transport capacities at short notice must sometimes spend a lot of money and be happy if their goods are transported at all.


Freight Forwarders Have Emerged Stronger From The Crisis


Freight forwarding companies have weathered the Corona crisis well so far. Many have expanded their digital competence in response to the crisis, thus strengthening their processes and optimising their receivables management. is one of these digital services that helps transporters, customs agents and cargo owners overcome the crisis with minimal damage during this difficult time. Carriers gain new customers by entering unlimited freight offers into the system and being reached by users all over the world. Customs brokers save their contact details and thus establish new partnerships. Freight owners conduct a worldwide market search for free and without commission and receive the most suitable price offers for their loads, find opportunities to contact transporters and customs agencies directly. Our freight and customs search engine, which offers transparency and convenience, continues to contribute to global trade.