Why the Cost of Shipping Goods From China Is Suddenly Soaring

Shipping containers next to gantry cranes at the Yangshan Deepwater Port in Shanghai, China, on Monday, Jan, 11, 2021. U.S. President Donald Trump famously tweeted that "trade wars are good, and easy to win" in 2018 as he began to impose tariffs on about $360 billion of imports from China. Turns out he was wrong on both counts. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
Shipping containers next to gantry cranes at the Yangshan Deepwater Port in Shanghai, China, on Monday, Jan, 11, 2021. U.S. President Donald Trump famously tweeted that "trade wars are good, and easy to win" in 2018 as he began to impose tariffs on about $360 billion of imports from China. Turns out he was wrong on both counts. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

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Every week, hosts Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway take you on a not-so-random walk through hot topics in markets, finance, and economics.

The coronavirus crisis snarled global shipping in early 2020 as borders were closed, but lots of people expected it to improve as vessels returned to position. Instead, more than a year later, the shipping crisis has only gotten worse and standard container rates on some transpacific routes have more than quadrupled, leading to yet another headwind for economies in the midst of fragile recoveries and global trade. On this episode, we speak to economist, historian, and author Marc Levinson. He talks about where all this transport disruption is coming from, what it means for global trade, and whether it will lead to a big rethink of the shipping industry.