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WORLD ECONOMY Surging shipping costs will drive up prices for some consumer products by 10%, new UN report finds


  • 1)The rate for a single shipping container has skyrocketed over the last 18 months as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted supply chains and trade channels.

  • 2)That surge in container rates could send consumer prices 1.5% higher over the next year, according to a report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

  • 3)The impact on consumer prices will vary by country and product, the report said.


A view shows a container ship in the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, November 10, 2021.

Top 10 consumer products by predicted % price increase


“UNCTAD’s analysis shows that the current surge in container freight rates, if sustained, could increase global import price levels by 11% and consumer price levels by 1.5% between now and 2023,” the UN report said Thursday.

By country, the U.S. would see consumer prices rise by 1.2%, while China would see a 1.4% increase, the report said. The analysis found that smaller countries more dependent on imports would see consumer prices rise by a much higher 7.5%.

By product, electronics, furniture, and apparel would see the greatest price increases — of at least 10% globally — due to supply chain distribution, UNCTAD said, noting containers account for 17% of total seaborne trade volume.