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Soaring Ocean Freight Rates & What it Means for You

Michalbl4, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

In recent months, the global shipping industry has been facing a significant challenge: a sudden and severe shortage of shipping containers. This container crunch has led to a dramatic increase in ocean freight rates, affecting businesses worldwide. At Tiger Shipping Containers, we want to keep you informed about these industry changes and how they may impact your logistics and shipping strategies.

The Causes of the Container Shortage

Several factors have contributed to this unprecedented container shortage. Firstly, the global economy has been rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic faster than many anticipated, leading to a surge in demand for goods. This has strained the supply chain, with more products needing to be shipped than containers available.

Additionally, disruptions at major ports due to labor shortages and logistical bottlenecks have exacerbated the problem. Ports are struggling to handle the influx of cargo, causing delays and further limiting the availability of containers.

Impact on Freight Rates

As a result of this container shortage, ocean freight rates have skyrocketed. Shipping a container now costs significantly more than it did just a few months ago. For businesses that rely on international shipping, this increase in costs can eat into profit margins and force price adjustments.

For example, the cost to ship a container from China to the United States has more than doubled, impacting importers and exporters alike. These rising costs are being felt across various industries, from retail to manufacturing, and are influencing global trade patterns.

The graph above illustrates the sharp increase in short- and long-term market rates for 40-foot equivalent units from East Asia to the U.S., highlighting the stark contrast between East Coast and West Coast ports. This data emphasises the importance of planning and strategic decision-making in response to fluctuating freight rates.

What This Means for Your Business

For businesses, understanding and adapting to these changes is crucial. Here are a few strategies to consider:

  1. Plan Ahead: With shipping delays becoming more common, it’s essential to plan your logistics well in advance. Factor in additional time for potential delays and higher costs when scheduling shipments.

  2. Optimise Inventory: Review your inventory management practices. Holding a larger buffer stock might be necessary to cushion against shipping delays, but balance this with the cost of holding inventory.

  3. Negotiate with Carriers: Engage in discussions with your shipping carriers to negotiate better rates or secure longer-term contracts that might offer some protection against fluctuating rates.

    The Ocean TEU Rejection Index

The Ocean TEU Rejection Index graph shows the percentage of total 20-foot equivalent units rejected or declined by ocean carriers. This index provides insight into the capacity constraints and rejection rates that shippers are currently experiencing, further underlining the need for effective logistics planning.

How Tiger Shipping Containers Can Help

At Tiger Shipping Containers, we understand the challenges businesses face in these turbulent times. We offer a range of high-quality shipping containers that can help you optimise your logistics operations. Whether you need containers for storage, transportation, or specialised needs, our products are designed to meet the highest standards of durability and efficiency. Our team is here to provide expert advice and solutions tailored to your specific needs. By partnering with us, you can ensure that your business remains resilient and adaptable in the face of global shipping challenges.


The current container crunch is a complex issue with far-reaching implications for global trade and individual businesses. Staying informed and proactive is key to navigating these changes successfully. At Tiger Shipping Containers, we’re committed to supporting your business with the best shipping solutions available.

For more information on how we can assist you, contact us today or visit our website to explore our range of products and services.

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