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Slowdown of Chinese exports and improvement of Indian imports have eased the shortage of containers for freight.

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NEW DELHI : The slowdown of exports from China in November compared to the previous month has improved the situation. Further, the festive shipping for Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year too has almost got over. Indian imports too have been growing well in the past few months.

“Waiting time for containers has come down to an average one week across ports, while some are getting containers in three days. In October last year, it used to take more than two weeks to secure containers. Another major challenge was availability of containers to destinations like CIS countries. Now that too has been addressed,” said Ajay Sahai, Director General and CEO, Federation of Indian Export Organisations. The crisis was more pronounced in the east coast and that too has eased to a great extent, he added.

According to Sahai, the slowdown of exports from China in November compared to the previous month has improved the situation. Further, the festive shipping for Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year too has almost got over.

Indian imports too have been growing well in the past few months. During last year, exports had picked up much earlier than imports. Shipping companies were reluctant to provide containers for exports alone as most of them had to return without freight.

Further, the pandemic had hit the manufacturing of containers in different parts of the world, aggravating the shortage. However, in the recent months, new containers are being increasingly deployed.

“Shipping lines brought in 1.67 million containers in October. Addition of new containers has continued in November as well,” said Sahai.

With better availability of containers, freight cost too had corrected by 5 per cent in November. In October last year, shipping lines were charging extra freight charges ranging between $400 and $1,000 per container, depending upon the size. The increased rates were around 25 to 50 per cent higher than the earlier charges.

However, the spread of omicron has once again heightened uncertainty of trade and the freight cost has again moved up to levels witnessed in October this year.

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