UK suppliers aghast at hike in container rates

Published on: 4th December 2020

Costs have spiralled for shipping before Chinese New Year.

Container rates from China to the UK in December have soared to $7500, with a 40HQ costing up to $9000. This massive increase in price is causing huge headaches for UK suppliers in the short term. 8th Wonder’s Andrea Gornall told Toy World:” It’s mad – over $7000 is off the scale, and the price is going to stay at that level until at least Chinese New Year. Everyone’s in the same boat though . I’m sure this will result in product delays. We’re trying to work on a plan but it’s not easy.”

However, some comfort is offered by sourcing specialist Ger Murphy, who is based in Hong Kong. His company Vantage Choices supports international toy companies importing from China. He commented: “$7000 to ship to the UK is off the chart – people tend to complain about paying $4000. Personally,  I think those rates need to be challenged. The cause is that shipping lines have dry docked vessels to fill the ones they have. As a result of empty Containers sitting in Europe and USA, there is a lack of containers in China, which is driving the price up. It’s very much a short term problem, as the containers are now coming back – everyone is paying for the transport cost to return the containers in their freight rates. You will see these issues easing after Chinese New Year – hopefully!”

While it appears to be a short-term challenge, it is yet another major logistics headache for suppliers to contend with, on top of existing chaos at UK ports and the looming Brexit deadline. Although, suppliers and retailers who are left sitting on stock after Christmas may not feel as bad about it as they traditionally would.



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