Freight rates have skyrocketed from China over the last 6-8 months due to Covid-19 and Brexit.
To ship a 40ft container from China has increased between 5-6X since Covid-19 and the additional import legislation further to Brexit.
Covid-19 was the first issue that impacted on the cost. Lockdowns and Furlough has resulted on a huge demand for online goods that’s causing a surge in demand for goods from China. The issue isn’t the demand, it’s the extra pressure the UK docks are under due to the additional importation legislation introduced because of Brexit. This is bottlenecking the docks and logistic and freight forwarders have therefore had to increase their costs to help cover these delays.
This bottleneck has now resulted in a lack of empty containers in China that has driven the price for a container up due to demand.
Hopefully, Chinese New Year will help resolve many of these issues and reduce the bottleneck as no goods will be imported for 4-5 weeks, with most of the containers being emptied and returned to China.
It will be interesting to see if a new bottleneck happens after Chinese New Year and we hope UK customs have picked up the pace to clear goods faster in the future.
Note also that EU shipments are also increasing in cost too. They are also being affected by the backlog and therefore freight from the EU is also having a surcharge to help cover these costs.
Most of our sportswear start-up shipments are coming via courier as this is the most cost-effective way to ship right now. These shipments seem to be cleared much faster as many larger courier companies have their own clearance systems in place, however, we have noticed that costs here have increased slightly over the last 2-3 months.