Exports to US getting costlier owing to clogged ports, higher freight: TPCI


Exports to US getting costlier owing to clogging at ports along with increased container freight rates, the Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) said.

According to the Council, new records have been hit in container freight spot rates of all carriers, as the Asia-Europe route continues to continuously rise and is currently approaching $9,000 per Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU), with further rises expected this month.

“Industry is wary of the situation as unfrequented container and shipping rate surge to a new high due to clogging at the major US ports disrupting the supply chain,” the TPCI said in a statement.

“The data from ‘ITC Trade Map’ shows that, exports to US from India has grown by more than 20 per cent compared to the 2019 in the first quarter of 2021 (April-June period). A change in trend is being observed with respect to exports, which now is more focused towards the proximate markets, where the container turnaround time is shorter and freight costs are affordable, compared to the long haul distances like Europe and US.”

It cautioned that if this trend continues, India might see a decline in the exports in coming months as these are major markets for exports.

During the pre-Covid period, cost out of India to North America was on average $1,800 per 20 feet container, which is now touched to a high of $6,000.

“Comparing this to previous months, container trading data reveals that during the first trimester of 2021, the average prices for 20 feet containers across Europe rose 57 per cent,” Sandip Patel of SLT Food Inc, and a US-based TPCI member was quoted as saying in the statement.

“A surge in demand along with unexpected high volumes and pandemic-related restrictions were the main difficulties that lead to this problem.”

Accordingly, the US West Coast is the worst-hit, and with record breaking import volume, labour shortages and massive yard congestion, is experiencing severe delays and long dwell times.

While the US East Coast is witnessing the uptick in demand for imports, a lack of available truckers, and limited yard space means its terminals are experiencing heavy congestion and longer than usual dwell times.