Shipping A Container From China Costs Almost As Much As A New Honda Civic

Shipping prices are seeing a big increase because of course they are.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled Shipping A Container From China Costs Almost As Much As A New Honda Civic
Photo: David McNew / Staff (Getty Images)

The cost to ship a container from China to the United States has reached record highs. Moving a container across the pacific is costing shippers over $20,000, a number that is nearly double of what it was in July, which was already twice of what it cost back in January.

I have been pondering importing a motorcycle. Back in May, I reached out to some importers only to find out that some aren’t doing motorcycle imports right now because shipping containers are so expensive. Things have only gotten worse since then, as container shipping has nearly doubled in cost since July.

According to the Freightos Baltic Index, a platform that tracks global shipping prices, the global average cost to ship a container is $10,517. This echoes similar numbers reported by the Economist last month.


Shiping a container from China and East Asia can set a shipper back $20,825, or just short of the price of a new Honda Civic.

We’ve previously covered how the supply chain is being pushed past its limits. Consumer demand outstrips the speed that carriers can get goods across seas and for ports to process all of the stuff. This has led to some ships leaving empty containers behind at ports to save time while others use containers that are far past their prime. Dozens of ships remain stuck outside of California and New York waiting for weeks to unload.


Some companies have found ways around the high prices. Peloton, makers of those expensive exercise bikes, are utilizing air freight. Big box stores are just chartering entire ships just for themselves. Others are simply raising prices to match. Amazingly, one of those stores is Dollar Tree, which will now sell goods at prices above $1.

It’s not known when things will go back to normal, but some experts suggest it could be as far out as 2023. Thankfully, the price to ship a vehicle on a roll-on-roll-off ship has not skyrocketed. So if you want to import a vehicle, skip the container and have it driven onto a ship.