Brexit boosts container ship rates as public, businesses stockpile goods

As the UK’s self-imposed Brexit deadline of March 29 looms, some market participants in the container shipping industry are bracing themselves for a boost in rates. Hopes of more clarity on the future relationship between the UK and the EU were dashed after Prime Minister Theresa May lost a vote in the House of Commons on her negotiated deal with the EU on January 15, in the greatest defeat of a sitting government in UK history. As a result, the container shipping market is eyeing support for all-inclusive freight rates and utilization of capacity on vessels along key head-haul routes to the UK, as importers seek to stockpile goods before this date. The market has already seen some support in recent months, with November rates bearing much of the brunt. But a last-minute jump in demand remains likely in the market. A sideways glance at the news on a near daily basis shows the British public squirreling away essential supplies. Members of Mumsnet, an online parenting forum, have been discussing their plans to stockpile medication, toiletries, tobacco and hair dye. The BBC ran an article on January 15 on “Brexit boxes” which cost upward of £300, spanning freeze-dried food, water… continue reading

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