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China to US airfreight prices spike as coronavirus hits

Rates from Shanghai four times higher due to lower capacity

Workers unload a cargo plane full of medical equipment that had been flown in from China at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in Finland on April 15.    © Reuters

TOKYO/BANGKOK -- Air and sea cargo fares have surged due to the coronavirus pandemic, with airfreight prices from Shanghai to U.S. and Europe quadrupling since the outbreak started. 

Aviation companies have massively cut back on air cargo operations, as passenger demand for flights have plunged in the wake of travel bans and quarantines. Cargo compartments of passenger flights typically carry 55% of all goods sent by air.

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