Container shortage pushes freight rates to almost triple in Myanmar

In a combination of globalization and pandemic effect, the price of containers to be shipped out of Myanmar has almost tripled in the past 6 months.

This is a global phenomenom including other parts in Asia: the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index and the Ningbo Containerized Freight Index, representing two of the three biggest container ports in the world, rose around 100 percent each since late August according to data from Statista.

It is not an unknown effect: the later part of the year usually sees an increased demand – and increased price – for shipping out of Asia as the Western world heads into the holiday season. But the post-lockdown in Europe increased the impact further. Prices surged as containers in Asia are becoming scarcer, instead piling up in North American and European ports. While the first wave of lockdowns in the coronavirus pandemic caused major economic turmoil and suppressed consumer spending, more workplaces are staying open during the second wave and people are spending again, favoring goods – as services spending is still majorly restricted by coronavirus rules. Ports are also reporting slower than usual transit times due to coronavirus-related shortages of personnel and equipment.

Myanmar has faced container shortage problems since October when the ships were lining up in Western ports waiting their turn to unload their containers – never to come back.

The country currently has nine ports involved in sea trade. Yangon Port is the main gateway for Myanmar’s maritime trade and includes the Yangon inner terminals and the outer Thilawa Port.

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