Far East-UK traffic particularly hit
By the end of 2020, the cost of shipping goods from China to Northern Europe - one of the major trade routes - had quadrupled from levels at the start of the year.
“The container crisis is increasing the pressure on British retailers and manufacturers at a time when businesses are already having to contend with the impact of Brexit and the pandemic on their profitability,” says Charlie Walker, head of marketing at Walker Logistics, an e-commerce fulfilment and 3PL solutions company based in Berkshire.
Walker continues: “There are stories of British internet retailers opting to burn large quantities of returned clothing stock originally sold to customers in mainland Europe because it is more cost efficient to dispose of returned goods that way than it is to pay for them to be freighted back to the UK.”
The container shortage is partly a result of the increase in demand for shipping during the pandemic when online shoppers spent more on home improvements, furniture and products for their new home offices.
The huge volume of personal protective equipment and medical supplies passing through the world’s ports has also been a contributory factor. (cd)