The acceleration in the Delta-variant outbreaks has slowed global container turnaround rates.
Typhoons off China's busy southern coast in Late July have also contributed to the crisis gripping the world's most vital method for moving everything.
'These factors have turned global container shipping into a highly disrupted, under-supplied seller's market, in which shipping companies can charge four to ten times the normal price to move cargoes,' said Drewry managing director Philip Damas.
'We have not seen this in shipping for more than 30 years,' he said.
The spot price per container on the China to US East coast route has climbed 500 per cent from a year ago to $20,804 this week. That compares to under $11,000 on July 27.
The cost from China to the US west coast is below $20,000, while the latest China to Europe rate is $14,000.
'Ships can only be profitably operated in the trades where freight rates are higher, and that is why capacity is shifting mostly to the US,' said Linerlytica executive consultant Tan Hua Joo.