Shipping costs have tripled since 2019 © Shen Chunchen/VCG via Getty Images
Shipping costs have tripled since 2019 © Shen Chunchen/VCG via Getty Images

Inflation threat as shipping and commodity prices climb

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
3 June 2021

Firms are facing rising costs from shipping and climbing commodity prices, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC said global food prices were increasing and shipping costs had tripled since 2019, and these costs would “filter through in the second half of this year”.

Higher demand for raw materials has hit UK manufacturers, with input prices rising at the fastest rate since 1992 in the latest PMI.

Tesla has blamed consumer price rises on “major supply chain price pressure industry-wide. Raw materials especially”.

Meanwhile, a global shortage of timber and consequent price hikes have put “enormous pressure” on construction supply chains.

For the UK services sector input price inflation has reached its highest since 2008, according to May’s PMI.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the BRC, said: “Cost pressures are bearing down. Global food prices are currently at their highest in seven years, shipping costs have risen threefold since 2019, and commodity prices are climbing.

“We will likely see these costs filter through in the second half of this year, and with the additional Brexit red-tape this autumn, retailers may be forced to pass on some of these costs onto their customers.”

Global food prices rose at their fastest rate in more than a decade in May, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

A surge in prices for vegetable oils, sugar and cereals was behind the increase in the FAO Food Price Index, which rose to its highest value since September 2011.

In April Prestige Purchasing said it expected to see price rises in the foodservice sector as hospitality opens up after the UK lockdown, with the effects of Covid and Brexit expected to be felt “for some time to come”.

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