The Christmas gluttony of 2013 has ended and it’s back to the diets for most in January 2014. The shipping industry however hasn’t let its belt out a notch or two. The containerships that will make their way from China to the UK are heaving with containers being shipped before China closes its doors for their New Year on the 31st of January.
Full Ships = High Rates
Following the Yo-Yo Rates of 2013 it seems that the reduction of capacity (some of the lines have removed ships from service) and with Chinese New Year rapidly approaching, the rates have steadied. In December the shipping lines implemented increases that seem to have held fairly well and as a result current shipping rates are relatively high. In an industry that relies so heavily on supply and demand to set the bar when it comes to shipping costs demand is currently outstripping supply.
China Closed for Business
Chinese New Year annually shuts down the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut that is China’s manufacturing industries and is upon us at the end of January. This means that importing goods from China won’t be an option for a two week window. This has caused a squeeze as goods are shipped early causing the vessels to be brimming. One shipping line has already declared that it’s fully booked until February.
…. And relax
As space on the ships becomes more and more scarce the rates will inevitably see a further increase. However, as we’ve seen in 2013 it’s highly unlikely that the shipping lines will be able to sustain these rates after Chinese New Year and we expect them to drop by the end of February.
If you’ve got a full container load to ship and need it urgently then you should try to secure space as soon as you can whilst it’s still available. If it’s not urgent then it may be prudent to hold fire and ship the goods in February to save yourself a few hundred pounds.