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Container rate records are shattered as US imports surge

Just how high can Asia-U.S. West Coast spot rates go? They blew past $3,000 per forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU) in early August and have been climbing ever since. They’ve just topped $3,700. Can they reach $4,000?

No one predicted that the container industry would be doing this well, this quickly.

“We’ve been scratching our heads a lot, trying to figure out why ocean freight prices have climbed so high,” commented Eytan Buchman, chief marketing officer of Freightos, on Wednesday.

The bullish view is that import demand will continue to surprise to the upside. Ocean rates evidence a U.S. economic rebound. COVID erased demand for some products and services, but increased demand for other products. Storefront sales won’t recover, but e-commerce sales will offset storefront losses. Government support will counter shutdown fallout.

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