Which Factors Impact Ocean Freight Rates?

Shippers who normally receive ocean freight rates for different destinations might notice that the prices might be different throughout the year. There are numerous factors that impact the shipping rates for ocean containers. Here are four of them:

Location - There is a reason why you need to state your origin and destination cities when receiving a rate: because longer transportation trips usually means more expenses. Different terminals and ports also enforce their own fees.

Surcharges – There are many different types of surcharges that can add up. Some carriers enforce a bunker surcharge for fuel costs, a chassis usage surcharge for using a chassis after arriving at the port, and a congestion surcharge to cover the expenses for a long wait at the port. These are only a sample of the many surcharges and fees that raise the price of ocean freight shipping.

Time of Year – Often a shipper who receives rates for different times of the year will also notice changes. This is particularly true in the Far East. For example, many carriers add on a peak season surcharge for cargo exports from Asia in anticipation of the holiday shopping season. Holidays such as Chinese New Year also impact rates.

Capacity – Since prices can be based on the volume of cargo per cubic meter, capacity plays a factor. If there is a lot of empty space on a vessel, the prices could be altered.

To deal with changing ocean freight prices, shippers should work with a trusted freight forwarder who can help find them the best rate.