We share the latest updates on container freight prices

2024 June, 27

The cost of transporting one standard 40-foot container from China to Lithuania is currently around USD 9 000, up from USD 1 800 six months ago.

The main factors driving higher container shipping prices are:


  • The current decline in the capacity of the Panama Canal. The canal is one of the most important waterways in the Western Hemisphere, but since last November it has been at a lower-than-normal water level, which has led the authorities to allow 33 ships a day to pass through, 29 fewer than traditional levels. This means more delays and higher shipping costs.


  • High demand for container vessels, which is not being met in time due to the interference of the Panama Canal.


  • The significant increase in transit times is encouraging businesses, both manufacturers buying raw materials and components and traders buying finished products, to increase their order volumes in order to secure higher stock levels.


  • As experts point out, during the pandemic, the cost of shipping containers was at a record high in ports around the world, when cargoes accumulated in huge quantities and the market was short of containers and ships capable of carrying them. A similar situation can now be seen for 2021, with prices rising due to the increasing demand for transporting goods and the shortage of ships.


  • It is considered that the “ceiling” in container shipping prices has not yet been reached and it is difficult to predict when it will normalize. In summary, therefore, businesses that are currently delaying container shipping in the expectation that prices will fall or stabilize are likely to be disappointed.