Average Shanghai-North America spot rates hit US$9.74 per kilogramme this week, a 22 per cent jump from last week and three times the pre-pandemic 2019 level, according to the Baltic Air Index. The rate is the highest it has been since May 2020.
Rates from Shanghai to North Europe also spiked to their highest level this year at $5.73/kg, up 27 per cent over last week and 155 per cent over 2019.
Airlines are resuming freighter flights to Shanghai Pudong after an inbound freighters were placed on hold following the discovery of two cases of Covid delta variant at Pactl, the airport's largest handling facility.
A total of seven positive Covid cases have since been identified, but cargo handling has resumed. However, strict social distancing requirements for ground handling workers has cut the workforce and is severely affecting the unloading and loading of cargo.
Cathay Pacific Cargo has resumed freighter flights to Shanghai after they were suspended on August 20 when one of the early positive Covid cases was detected among its ground handling staff, forcing all 200 loading workers to stay at the same closed-loop hotel to isolate for 14 days.