Shipping containers 101

Shipping Containers.  Image by Flickr user melted_snowball

Shipping Containers. Image by Flickr user melted_snowball

They move the wine we love.  They transport millions of tons of goods across the oceans.  They are shipping containers, and like everything else, the price of using them is going up.

In the quest to help you understand the true costs involved in the wine business, it’s important that you read this snippit from an article in today’s New York Times about the cost of shipping containers.

Australian wine, which has dominated the under $8 market thanks to one brand alone, will obviously be the most affected … it’s a long trip from Sydney to the shores of California.  That is to say, that particular brand and others in its price range will be feeling a bigger hit vis-a-vis a percentage of their price.  But this transportation increase will be felt throughout the system and with any and all imported goods.  It’s suddenly far cheaper to consider American wines for the ‘affordable pour’ at your restaurant!

From the New York Times:

The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from Shanghai to the United States has risen to $8,000, compared with $3,000 early in the decade, according to a recent study of transportation costs. Big container ships, the pack mules of the 21st-century economy, have shaved their top speed by nearly 20 percent to save on fuel costs, substantially slowing shipping times.

The study, published in May by the Canadian investment bank CIBC World Markets, calculates that the recent surge in shipping costs is on average the equivalent of a 9 percent tariff on trade. “The cost of moving goods, not the cost of tariffs, is the largest barrier to global trade today,” the report concluded, and as a result “has effectively offset all the trade liberalization efforts of the last three decades.”

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