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Soaring container rates risk stifling post-COVID recovery

Port congestion and capacity shortage cause shipping delays and push up costs

TOKYO -- The surge in international container-shipping rates in recent months has left companies reliant on maritime transport facing delays and mounting costs that risk bogging down a post-coronavirus economic recovery.

The spot rate for shipping from Shanghai to the U.S. West Coast jumped to $4,000 per 40-foot container, according to the Shanghai Shipping Exchange -- 2.4 times the year-earlier figure. Rates from Shanghai to Europe quadrupled to $4,400 per 20-foot container. Spot prices for shipments to Southeast Asia, South America and South Africa rose three- to sixfold to the highest levels in data going back to 2009.

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