The real cost of ocean freight out of Asia is hitting 'unbelievable' heights


Notwithstanding further rate spikes this week, the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) is still understating the prices shippers are paying carriers, according to a senior analyst.

“It should be noted that the market is at a point where the SCFI is, in some cases, significantly underestimating actual rates paid,” said SeaIntelligence’s Lars Jensen.

However, the SCFI’s comprehensive index, reading 2,411.82, is 167% higher than a year ago, reflecting huge spot rate increases across all export trades from Asia.

For example, rates to the South American east coast are recorded at some 200% higher than 12 months ago, while intra-Asia spots are 450% more expensive.

But the SCFI this week recorded only a modest 6% uplift for rates to North Europe, to $3,124 per teu. And although this rate is 230% higher than a year ago, it is well below the whopping price increases shippers are said to be encountering on the route.

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