The cost of shipping goods across the world’s oceans and air routes may stay high for a year or more as consumer demand stays strong and the already tight supply of capacity to move cargo commands a premium, according to McKinsey & Co.
That’s the outlook of Ludwig Hausmann, a partner in McKinsey’s office in Munich. He explained it this way:
* On the ocean side: He sees container rates staying high because a now-consolidated liner industry’s past tendencies to wage price wars has “completely vanished so there is more discipline around balancing supply so that it fits demand.” On top of that, a lot of long-term contracts with shippers have already been agreed for the next year or two — and “that will lock in a higher price.”
* On air cargo: In the past, many smaller airlines operated long-haul planes that added to cargo capacity. Hausmann’s view is that the future will be “more of a professional’s game” involving bigger airlines that don’t allot more aircraft on certain lanes. As a result, the easing of air-freight supply constraints “is also not happening too fast.”