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Supply Chain

China lockdowns to keep freight rates elevated, logistics bosses say

DHL and Ocean Network Express CEOs identify pain points in world trade

ONE's Jeremy Nixon, left, and DHL's Tim Scharwath do not expect international trade to normalize for some time. (Source photo by Takashi Nakano and courtesy of DHL Global Forwarding)

BANGKOK/SINGAPORE -- Freight rates will remain elevated as China's dogged pursuit of a zero-COVID strategy continues to hold up international trade, the chiefs of two global logistics companies said. One warned that the situation could pose an existential threat to manufacturers that produce goods with little room in the pricing to absorb higher transportation costs.

The Chinese strategy has caused a shortage of labor at ports, preventing ships from quickly offloading cargo and sailing elsewhere. Labor issues have also clogged U.S. ports, where maritime companies and longshore unions are negotiating employment terms.

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