Last updated: January 21, 2022

Freight & Shipping Delays

With ongoing pandemic-related delays and closures, non-stop demand for ocean freight from Asia to the US, and a lack of capacity, ocean rates are still very elevated and transit times volatile.

Transpacific ocean rates have been more stable at the start of the year. Despite this stabilizing trend, rates remain 8-9X higher than the pre-pandemic norm.

Furthermore, easing prices are not being driven by any significant reduction of port congestion. Learn more about congestion at Long Beach port here.

Continued disrupted schedules and port congestion, combined with omicron slow downs and Lunar New Year, mean that importers have yet to see any significant improvement in shipping conditions in 2022.

Ocean freight rate increases and delays

Ocean rates on the major trade lanes remained stable this week but are still extremely elevated.

Manufacturing in China is expected to slow down significantly over the Lunar New Year (LNY) holiday at the start of February, with shipping prices going up ahead of the holiday.

While there were fears that China’s swift lockdown policy would cause added disruptions, steps were taken to quash the spread of positive cases detected in multiple places and so far no major impacts have been reported at any of the relevant ports.

The recent increase in cases could limit manufacturing in areas with outbreaks, but could also mean factories that normally close over the Lunar New Year (LNY) holiday will stay open, reducing the typical pre-holiday pressure on logistics.

Plus, it is likely than any impact of LNY is already being felt and won’t cause additional price increases. With less than two weeks to go any ocean shipments that haven’t been booked yet are unlikely to get moved in time.

These are container freight rates for the week of January 17, 2022, according to the Freightos Baltic Index:

  • Global freight rates increased 1% to $9,604 which is 140% higher than this time last year
  • Asia – US West Coast rates increased 4% to $15,171 which is nearly 250% higher than this time last year
  • Asia – US East Coast container rates went down slightly to $16,837, a rate 184% more expensive than last year
  • Asia – North Europe container shipping rates also decreased slightly to $14,314, 83% higher than last year’s rate
  • North Europe – US East Coast rates increased 5% to $6,811, however this is nearly 274% higher than this week in 2021

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