UK export sales are stalling amid the global shipping industry snarling up due to soaring container prices.
Around a third of UK exporters experienced an uptick in sales in the last quarter, up slightly from 27 per cent in the second quarter of the year.
Higher shipping costs are squeezing margins and deterring exporting firms from engaging in normal business activity, research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found.
Normal shipping patterns have been scuppered due to the pandemic engineering an enormous shift in demand toward goods and away from services. Ongoing Covid-19 restrictions in Asia is also dragging down productivity at ports, leading to long delays in container deliveries and shortages of available freight.
Some firms are having to pay £2,100 more to ship containers from China, the BCC said
In the UK, a paucity of lorry drivers has left containers sitting idle at Felixstowe, one of the country’s main trading hubs.
Firms are also acclimatising to new trading arrangements with the EU, which is increasing administrative costs.
William Bain, head of trade policy at the BCC, said: “Exports of goods are key to our economic recovery from the pandemic, but trading conditions remain fragile, and businesses need further supportive measures.”
“Everything from the new UK-EU trading conditions to raw material costs to the costs of container hire in overseas markets is constraining export growth and supply.”