The Current Situation For Sea Freight From China & The Far East To The UK

It is now an important time for you to review sea freight prices from China to the UK. Anyone involved in sourcing from China, the Far East, India and the Indian sub-continent will know there has been complete upheaval regarding freight rates from these origins in recent months.

Once the Red Sea became impassible for large containerships in December, the only option for container ship owners was to re-route ships around the Cape of Good Hope. This added around 10-14  days and 3500 miles to a ship’s journey, each way of course.

Along with the longer transit times the ships had to use more fuel for a much longer journey, plus the lines needed to use many more ships going backward and forwards China – Europe – China to maintain the same number of weekly departures. This had the effect of decreasing the supply of ships to book on as all spare capacity quickly got used up.

To make this a more or less perfect storm, the Chinese New Year – beginning in early February – increased demand just when the supply of space on ships became scarce. The result was no surprise – container freight rates doubled virtually overnight and then increased some more.

What’s the latest freight rate news?

The Chinese New Year surge of business has finished and the container ship owners have gotten used to routing their ships around the Cape of Good Hope, so the revised number of ships needed has become stable. Therefore there is less demand and a more stable supply of container ship capacity – the result:  container freight prices are decreasing and we forecast a drop of around 15- 25 % in cost.

Are part load prices falling as well?

Yes part load prices are also falling and freight rates are  now as low as £ 140 per tonne or cubic metre from Chinese ports

When will the Red Sea / Suez Canal open to container ships?

We do not think any major container ship operator will dare send their ships via this route for the foreseeable future so the present situation is the new normal.

If you are looking for a partner to assist you in moving what you have sourced from China or the Far East the friendly team at K&L Freight are here to help and can update you with the latest news on freight rates.