Chinese freight prices drop by 25 percent from COVID-19 spurred highs

Published on
August 13, 2020

Freight rates from China have dropped in recent months as the country’s transport authorities continue to reopen international routes – good news for seafood firms hit with soaring freight rates to China when the virus took hold in the spring.

“Although rates have decreased by 25 percent on the rate that was seen during the peak of the pandemic, we have seen a small increase over the last couple of weeks, but [they are] still holding at 25-30 percent cheaper than peak times,” Beijing-based JAG UFS Group CEO Gary Wilcox told SeafoodSource.

Although the mass freighting of PPE from China has slowed, “normal business is resuming, which is encouraging for all,” Wilcox said. “But demand for space on aircrafts is still in demand, just not at the levels previously seen.”

Airlines that were previously offering “belly” charters, meaning only using the cargo hold and not the passenger area of the aircraft, have since stopped, further adding to the demand for space, noted Wilcox.

Meanwhile China’s civil aviation authorities are in talks to reopen air routes with 50 countries. In a statement the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) said it has talked with 93 airlines, 74 of them foreign, about resuming regular passenger services into China.

China's imports of seafood have been disrupted this summer by weaker demand and higher freight prices. Even if freight costs are dropping, consumer demand for premium imported seafood remains sluggish. Activity in Hong Kong’s retail and entertainment sectors in July was down by 50 percent on January levels according to official data. The city, long a transit and consumption point for imported seafood, continues to restrict visitors entering the city. 

Photo courtesy of Phuong D. Nguyen/Shutterstock

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