In May of 2024, ocean shipping costs from Asia to North America rapidly increased due to conflicts in the Red Sea and potential labor strikes at East Coast ports. Rates to the U.S. West Coast increased by 13%, with a 70% rise from April. Prices on the East Coast rose by 18%, but they are still lower than they were during February’s high. Freightos is warning that the high rates and delays could continue due to strong demand and limited shipping capacity. Shipping costs from China to the United States West Coast have increased since the beginning of the year due to shippers moving more cargo in anticipation of upcoming labor negotiations and to avoid disruptions in the Red Sea.


Congestion at Asian ports, particularly in Southeast Asia and China, contributes to rising rates. In 2024, increased imports from China increased activity at major United States ports, and high consumer spending kept the demand strong. Experts say the current situation is similar to the disruptions seen during the pandemic, but it might be less severe because ports have improved their operation and handling strategies. Although they have improved, the shipping industry faces ongoing challenges and uncertainty.


As always, please get in touch with us at Radius International if you have any questions.