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Crazy Box! The Price Has Risen Nearly 10 Times, And Foreign Trade Companies Are Still -hard To Find A Box

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For some time, in many ports in China, there are always waiting crowds around the container registry.

   Since the third quarter of last year, the shortage of containers has spread in major ports. According to many media reports, some scalpers took the opportunity to sit on the ground and raise prices, and some routes may not get a container if they increase the price by US$3,000. There are also a large number of manufacturers who are bothered by the lack of boxes. The warehouse of a handicraft manufacturer in Ningbo is full of products that have not had time to be transported away, totaling 1,000 cubic meters.

   Lin Liping, Deputy General Manager of an Import and Export Co., Ltd. in Ningbo: This is our guest of TV shopping in Germany. All 20 containers will leave from the beginning of November 2020. Until now, there is no clear shipping schedule.

  The anxiety of enterprises has continuously pushed up the selling price of containers. In the first half of 2020, the price of a 20-foot small box was US$1,600, and now it has risen to a maximum of US$3,600. The price of the popular 40-foot box has risen to US$5,950. The price has all doubled and hit a record high.

Unlike the domestic “difficult to find one container”, the Port of Auckland in New Zealand has a serious backlog of empty containers. Since the second half of 2020, in order to store those empty containers that cannot be shipped, they have found 5 new storage yards. There are nearly 6000 empty containers stranded in Auckland.

   COSCO SHIPPING Group (New Zealand) Co., Ltd. Chief Operating Officer Mark Scott: All shipping companies in New Zealand have a serious container backlog, which is twice the normal situation.

  The data shows that between 10,000 and 15,000 containers are stranded in California, USA. In the Port of Felixstowe, Britain, containers have spread from the port to the surrounding suburbs. The number of empty containers in Australia's ports exceeds 50,000. At present, the stock of empty containers in some important international ports is three times the normal level.

   Roberto Gianneta, Chairman of the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association: We found that there are now empty containers stranded in North America and Europe. In addition, empty containers in Australia and more places are also waiting to be shipped back.

  CIMC Chairman Mai Boliang: There are more than 40 million containers in operation around the world. We produce 400,000 containers a month, and 5 million containers were produced in that year. If the boxes cannot be returned, you still cannot solve the fundamental problem.

   Global economic recovery, China's manufacturing industry drives maritime demand

  This wave of price increases in the shipping industry is affected by multiple factors. For example, severe overseas epidemics and the blockade of the Suez Canal have increased the pressure on the shipping industry.

   In the smart workshop of a household electrical appliance company in Guangzhou, workers rushed to make TV sets to be sent to Europe and the United States. Now the company’s export orders have been scheduled for two months, but the person in charge of the company’s logistics is not happy.

  Long Hui, deputy director of the material management department of a company in Guangdong: At present, domestic container (container) resources are very tight, and it is also very difficult for us to book space, which will affect my normal production and operation.

  With the recovery of the global economy, the trade demand of various countries has increased greatly. Due to the effective control of the epidemic in China, the Chinese manufacturing industry bears important responsibilities in the global industrial chain. Statistics show that the total value of China's trade goods imports and exports in the first four months of this year has increased by 28.5% over the same period in 2020, and has increased by 21.8% over the same period in 2019.

   Ding Yifan, researcher at the World Development Institute of the Development Research Center of the State Council: A large amount of goods are still flowing from China to overseas, which shows that China's production capacity is particularly strong, and now in the middle of the epidemic, what everyone can count on is made in China.

   Although 2 months have passed since the Suez Canal blockage incident, the aftermath of its subsequent impact has not yet been seen. Coupled with the superimposed effect of the new crown epidemic, the resulting chaotic shipping schedule and port congestion are happening all over the world. There are sometimes more than 10 container ships waiting to enter the port at the anchorage outside the port of Auckland, New Zealand, with an average delay of 8 to 10 days.

   New Zealand's Auckland Port spokesperson Matt Ball: The strong increase in import demand under the epidemic has led to a substantial increase in loading and unloading. We are seriously understaffed to meet the needs of loading and unloading.

   At least 7 of the 10 busiest ports in the United States currently face congestion. In major ports in Southeast Asia and Europe, the waiting time for ships to berth has reached more than one week.

  Drewry Shipping Consulting Co. consultant Simon Heine: This is undoubtedly a global supply chain crisis. We think it will continue until the fourth quarter, and may continue until the end of this year.

   The situation on the ship is also not optimistic. The new crown epidemic is always threatening the health of seafarers. Maersk is the world's largest container shipping company, with 30% of its crew coming from India. The second outbreak of the new crown epidemic in India has caused a huge impact on the company's business.

   Maersk Group Maritime Relations Director Pedersen: If the ban on crew is extended from a few weeks to a few months, it will bring challenges to our industry.

  India is one of the most important seafarer suppliers in the world. 15% of seafarers in the world come from India. The recent catastrophic surge in the epidemic in India has prompted some ports to impose restrictions on crews and ships coming to India.

   China is working hard to clear the arteries of maritime trade

   At present, 90% of the transportation volume of world trade is completed by sea transportation. Poor shipping will have a devastating impact on the global economic recovery. To this end, China has taken various measures to dredge the main artery of global trade.

   This is a container manufacturing company in Xiamen, Fujian. A container is assembled and rolled off the assembly line every three minutes. When the welding workers are at their busiest, there are more than 4,000 40-foot containers handled in one month.

   China is the world's leading producer of containers. It manufactures more than 96% of dry cargo containers and 100% of refrigerated containers in the world. In order to cope with the dilemma of "one container is hard to find", Chinese container manufacturers are working overtime to produce containers.

   Mai Boliang, Chairman and CEO of CIMC Group: We have increased the monthly supply, that is, the output, from 200,000 boxes to 400,000 boxes.

At the same time, major ports are also actively fighting for the return of empty sea containers. Recently, a freighter full of TEUs has slowly approached Ningbo Port. The difference is that the entire ship has more than 13,000 containers. empty box. After the ship docks, these empty containers will be unloaded first and sent to the whole country.

   Kang Shuchun, President of the International Freight Forwarding Branch of China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing: The average freight for a container from China to the United States used to be US$2,000. Now it has risen to 20,000 US dollars or even higher, and there is a 10 times profit margin in the middle. Even if the return cost is high, the profit margin of the outbound freight can cover the return cost of its empty containers, so now we are thinking of ways to transfer back the empty containers overseas.

   In the context of poor shipping, the China-Europe Express has recently become a favorite of overseas trade and transportation. Statistics show that in the first quarter of this year, China-Europe Express trains entering and leaving the country via Manzhouli and Suifenhe ports increased by 65.8% and 65.4% year-on-year respectively.

   Yin Guofeng, person in charge of a foreign trade company in Zhejiang: Now the difference between China-Europe Express and sea freight is less than US$1,000, everyone will use China-Europe Express. It means that the faster the goods go out, the less funds they have to advance.

   China-Europe freight trains, air freight, container rail and waterway combined transportation and other measures have opened up a "new way out" for my country's foreign trade. But in the face of huge shipping demand, these measures still seem to be a drop in the bucket.

  Kang Shuchun, President of the International Freight Forwarding Branch of China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing: Because sea transportation accounts for more than 90% of the entire world's trade and transportation, air and rail transportation account for only about 5%.

  Ding Yifan, researcher at the World Development Institute of the Development Research Center of the State Council: Now we will look at the second half of the year. With the popularization of vaccines, after the entire epidemic is fully controlled, production and transportation can be restored to a relatively stable level.

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