‘Perfect storm’ for supply chain could lead to 300% price hikes, warn bosses
PUBLISHED: 16:41 18 November 2020 | UPDATED: 18:37 18 November 2020
The price of imported goods could treble in the coming months due to worsening supply chain problems, according to bosses at an Ipswich-based shipping agency.
Bosses at Cory Brothers say that the price of sending a container from China to England has increased five-fold in a year – and doubled in the last month.
Shipping a container last year cost $1,300-1,500. A month ago it cost around $2,800. Now, it costs between $6,000-8,000.
But bosses at the company forecast that price will continue to increase – potentially hitting $10,000.
Peter Wilson, the firm’s managing director, said: “If you’re Apple or one of the big high end goods providers, there’s a chance you could afford these prices.
“But for standard white goods providers or staple food importers we’re talking about the potential of putting a 200-300% on the cost of those items.
“I know it sounds really dramatic, but this is something we’re facing.”
According to Mr Wilson the reason for this dramatic increase in price was a “perfect storm” of Covid, the build up to Brexit and congestion within UK ports.
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“The rates have never been this high as long as we have been in this industry,” Mr Wilson said.
“They have gone beyond the point of sustainable trade to the UK without a significant effect on either the cost of items or a reduction in physical importation – neither of which is going to be acceptable to needy families in Suffolk or the UK.
“We have large alliances that are increasing their rates but dropping capacity to the United Kingdom, we have significant port congestion at every major container port in the United Kingdom.
“And on top of that, there are transport issues in the run up to Christmas.”
James Crosby, head of logistics at Cory Brothers, said: “I think it’s also safe to say that shipping lines have lost their appetite to call at the UK because of congestion in the UK ports.”
The firm has written to the county’s MPs asking for the government to intervene and help companies impacted by the situation.
Mr Wilson added: “We’re not looking for a fix for Cory Brothers – we’re looking for a fix for the industry as a whole right now.”
A spokesman from the Department for Transport said that resilient supply chains and free-flowing freight are important for the UK economy.
He went on to say the department was aware of high volumes at UK container ports and, despite it remaining a commercial matter for the industry to resolve, was liasing with the sector.
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