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A new UN report finds that surging shipping costs will drive up prices

A new UN report finds that surging shipping costs will drive up prices

November 22, 2021: -The global increase in container shipping rates could send consumer prices 1.5% higher over the coming year, according to a report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The rate for one shipping container has skyrocketed over the past 18 months as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted supply chains and trade channels. Routes saw costs rise by seven times, if not more.

“UNCTAD’s analysis shows that the current increase in container freight rates, if sustained, could increase global import price levels by 11% and consumer price levels by 1.5% amid now and 2023,” the UN report said Thursday.

By country, the U.S. would see consumer prices increase by 1.2%, while China would experience a 1.4% increase, the report said. The analysis found that the countries more dependent on imports would see consumer prices rise by a much higher 7.5%.

Product, electronics, furniture, and apparel would see the most significant price increases to supply chain distribution; UNCTAD said containers account for 17% of total seaborne trade volume.

Some companies have chosen to send smaller products by air due to the soaring cargo shipping costs, but air freight tends to be more expensive.

The container shipping cost surge would also drag down growth in major economies, the analysis said.

Industrial production, a significant driver of growth, is set to fall by more than 1% in the U.S. and the euro area and drop by 0.2% in China if container freight rates rise 10% and supply chains are disrupted, the report said.

As of late October, over 600 container ships were stuck outside ports worldwide, twice the level at the start of the year, Swiss logistics giant Kuehne+Nagel told CNBC. The company projected late last month that the congestion would last until February.

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A new UN report finds that surging shipping costs will drive up prices