For the savvy shipper, container shipping rates are the most crucial component to freight quotes and keeping operating costs low. With the Covid-19 pandemic, container shipping rates shot up to all-time highs, constantly breaking records every month with demand far outstripping supply. Therefore, being aware of current shipping rates can make all the difference in helping you or your company save a fortune on shipping costs!

What are Shipping Rates?

Understanding container shipping rates is very simple for importers and exporters as it’s just the rate at which it costs to ship a 20ft or 40ft container from one destination to another. This is not to be confused with shipping costs, the term used by most people to describe the costs needed to ship their products. In supply chain terminology, shipping rates most often refer to container shipping rates, which is calculated by the standard of 20ft (TEU or twenty-foot equivalent unit) or 40ft (FEU or forty-foot equivalent unit) intermodal containers.

Moreover, container shipping rates can vary greatly depending on the route and port destination you select. For example, international container shipping rates from the US to China broke the $20,000 per FEU price mark, a clear contrast if someone shipped from US to Mexico, which is only $2,000 per FEU. The current shipping rate for containers should only be considered to be a part of your total cost, which also consists of factors like:

It’s for these reasons most shippers look to freight forwarders, the supply chain experts in organizing air & maritime transportation.

How to Find the Best Shipping Rates

With even the mainstream media covering the difficulties faced in the supply chain, from the Evergreen blockage at the Suez Canal to the port congestion in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, it’s no wonder everyone is suddenly aware of the major hurdles those in the logistics industry face on a daily basis. These obstacles have suddenly become even larger with the Covid-19 pandemic and the multiple port closures or restrictions placed around the world. Thus, shipping rates are constantly in flux and pinpointing accurate container shipping rates is difficult to do. Here’s an easy site to check what the current rates are for your shipping route.

Alternatively, the better option is to contact a freight forwarding agent to handle your shipments on your behalf. Now, why is this a better option? This is because a freight forwarding agent has a wide network of contacts and is price-sensitive to changes in container shipping rates, so that you’ll always get the best freight quotes at the best available prices. Moreover, the 10+ supporting documents needed to handle customs clearance is a nightmare in itself, so it’s better and cheaper to just leave it to the professionals to handle.

If you’re in need of a freight forwarding agent, talk to SFI today and we will provide you with the best possible quotes for your shipping needs.

Email us at or call us at (909) 594-3400.