Boxed out: China’s Exports Pinched by Global Run on Shipping Containers



Stella Qiu | Shivani Singh | Roslan Khasawneh | Reuters

BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China’s world-beating economic rebound from the coronavirus pandemic is being blunted by a global shortage of shipping containers, sending cargo costs to record highs and hampering manufacturers in filling fast-recovering global goods orders.

Exports from China surged 21% in November from a year ago as the country’s mammoth industrial engine cranked out mountains of appliances, toys, clothes, personal protective equipment and other items currently in high demand around the world.

But due to China’s lopsided trade balance – exporting three containers for every one imported recently – and delays in containers returning to China due to the pandemic overseas, a severe shortage is now starting to pinch export flows. Roughly 60% of global goods move by container, and according to United Nations trade data there are close to 180 million containers worldwide.

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