Rising Shipping Costs Impact Chinese Exports

Rising Shipping Costs Impact Chinese Exports

Igor Petrovich Romanov
1 min read

Surge in Shipping Prices for Chinese Exports to US: Impact Analysis and Future Implications

A perfect storm of factors is causing a surge in shipping prices for Chinese exports to the US. The SCFI index, which tracks export prices from Shanghai to the US, has risen by 18.82% since the end of April and 38.5% since the start of May, reaching its highest level since September last year.

Key Takeaways

  • Significant increase in sea freight rates from China to North America, with a 38.5% rise since April.
  • SCFI index for May shows an 18.82% rise compared to April, reaching a 10-month high.
  • West coast US shipping rates at $4393/40ft container, East coast at $5562/40ft container.
  • Current situation labeled as "one-container-shortage" causing difficulties for small and medium exporters.
  • High demand due to inventory build-up and red sea crisis leads to surge in freight prices.


The surge in shipping prices for Chinese exports to the US, with a 38.5% rise since April, is attributed to high demand from inventory build-up and the red sea crisis. This has led to a "one-container-shortage," impacting small and medium exporters. The SCFI index reached a 10-month high in May, causing a sharp increase in sea freight rates. The short-term consequences for countries like the US and China, as well as organizations and businesses involved in shipping, include higher costs and potential supply chain disruptions. In the long term, this situation may prompt the exploration of alternative shipping routes and the development of more efficient logistics solutions, potentially reshaping global supply chains.

Did You Know?

  • SCFI (Shanghai Containerized Freight Index): A key index used to monitor freight rates of containers shipped from Shanghai to the United States, considered a leading indicator of the health of international trade.
  • One-container-shortage: An imbalance between demand for shipping containers and available supply, aggravated by inventory build-up and supply chain disruptions, resulting in higher freight prices.
  • Freight rates for 40ft containers: Specific rates for 40ft containers shipped to the West coast ($4393) and East coast ($5562) of the US, reflecting increased transport costs due to high demand and the one-container-shortage.

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