She also warns that prices are likely to remain higher than before the pandemic, even when they do settle.
“Logistics are a real challenge for our exporters and importers, as the reliability of shipping has fallen dramatically since the pandemic hit – getting produce to market on time and in perfect condition is a real challenge for exporters of perishable goods,” Susan says.
“Some of our larger exporters have mitigated some of the challenges through partnerships with shipping companies, or by chartering ships, but this is not an option for our smaller exporters who rely on space being available on scheduled shipping services.”
Smaller exporters have therefore been more exposed to the higher freight costs than some of our larger companies.
“But there are some indications that freight prices in general are easing,” the report says.
“The Baltic Dry Index fell 50% from early October to mid-November, but has since crept up a little, and a number of indices that measure the cost of moving containers around the world have also eased a little in November.
“However, freight prices are bobbing around, and could certainly rise again, particularly if Omicron – the latest variant of COVID-19 – results in labour shortages at key ports.
“Overall we can expect freight costs to remain higher than normal for at least the next 12 months.”