(Economic Observation) How to deal with the “hard to find one box” of containers as shipping costs are rising?

  China News Service, Shanghai, September 15 (Zhou Zhuoao) "Every day I suffer from logistics." Li Yongkai, general manager of Qiaoshan Fitness Equipment (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., said in an interview with a reporter from China News Agency that the company's sales during this period The situation is very good, but the current rising sea freight logistics has become a challenge for corporate development.

  It is understood that, as the largest fitness equipment manufacturer in Asia and the third largest in the world, Qiaoshan's recent sales have increased by more than 30% compared to the same period last year.

Li Yongkai introduced that the company's monthly freight only to US West Coast ports is 50 million yuan (RMB, the same below) more than in the past. At the same time, the price is rising, and the logistics are 3-4 weeks slower than in the past.

  With the economic recovery, the global market’s demand for commodities and raw materials continues to rise, the demand for shipping has soared, the rents of almost all types of ships are soaring, and the freight rates for containers and bulk carriers continue to set historical records.

Data from the shipping industry shows that the cost of shipping a container from Asia to Europe recently is about 10 times higher than in May 2020, while the cost from Shanghai to Los Angeles has risen by more than 6 times.

  Corresponding to the increase in shipping prices is the dazzling performance of China's foreign trade.

According to data released by the General Administration of Customs a few days ago, in the first eight months of this year, China’s total import and export value was 24.78 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 23.7% and a year-on-year increase of 22.8%.

Among them, exports were 13.56 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 23.2%, and the growth rate of imports and exports exceeded expectations.

  The industry believes that in August the import and export growth rate exceeded expectations, and the demand for foreign trade exports continued to increase, which fully reflects the strong demand for “Made in China” in the international market, but the limited logistics capacity may further increase the number of The box is hard to find".

  For Chinese exporters, good news finally came from the shipping industry last week: a number of shipping companies have announced that they will suspend spot freight increases.

Up to now, more than half of the world's top 10 shipping companies have followed up with the policy of "no increase in freight rates".

  According to the analysis of Industrial Securities, in the short term, the demand for container transportation is still strong. The repeated epidemic situation has always restricted effective supply and the high freight rate has continued to rise. However, if the overseas epidemic situation is effectively controlled, the supply chain will gradually return to normal. The price level may be difficult to maintain.

  Zhang Yi, CEO and chief analyst of iiMedia Consulting Group, told China News Agency that the “frozen prices” of global shipping giants means that ocean freight prices may not rise as much as before, but it does not rule out that these companies pass various additional Surcharges are profitable. At present, many countries have seen various surcharges such as congestion charges, peak season surcharges, and comprehensive demurrage charges.

  Zhang Yi said that supply and demand directly determine the price. When the supply is insufficient and the demand increases substantially, the price increase is an inevitable result.

For Chinese companies, in addition to shipping, they can also consider railway transportation methods such as China-Europe Express and China-Myanmar Border Railway. Although the price and volume of transportation are not as good as shipping, it can ease the tension of transportation to a certain extent.

  China-Europe freight trains refer to fast freight trains from China to Europe, and freight marshalling trains suitable for shipping containers.

Since the 10th anniversary of the operation of the China-Europe Express, 73 routes have been opened, reaching more than 160 cities in 22 European countries.

  "As the freight rates are close, the China-Europe Express Express has high timeliness, strong safety, and is conducive to epidemic prevention and control, and its containers have naturally become the object of competition among enterprises." China Transportation Association International Express Consulting Service Center In an earlier interview with reporters, Deputy Director Che Tanlai said that the current number of China-Europe trains is close to saturation.

  However, at the current stage, railway transportation cannot solve all the problems.

At the 2021 European Railway Freight Summit held in Lodz, Poland, Martin Koubek, the project director of the Silk Road project of METRANS, said bluntly that railways are only suitable for specific goods and are suitable for customers who are willing to spend more money for shorter transportation time. To transfer cargo from one ship to the railway, 100-200 trains are needed. Just imagine how many ships travel between China and Europe every day?"

  Martin Koubek believes that in terms of the relationship between shipping and railway transportation, the term "replacement" seems to be overstated. It is more appropriate to use "cooperation". The railway sector should maintain an open and cooperative attitude towards maritime transport and allow different modes of transportation to be carried out by different companies. Their responsibilities, and complement each other, together help the logistics industry.