The cost of shipping by sea is going up, way up. For shipments to Northern Europe, the increase on a 20′ container will be $750, a 40′ container will be $1,000 and for the 40′ high cube it will be $1,200, commencing July 15.
You would think that after coming out of a recession that there would be plenty of capacity and shipping lines would be looking for ways to fill that capacity. However, some shipping lines have gone to a policy of slow-steaming which means that containers are on the water longer, thus increasing turn-around times. (Slow-steaming is an attempt to reduce oil consumption.) And during the recession, no-one ordered any new containers.
As a result, not only are costs going up, but the amount of capacity is dropping extremely quickly. Thinking of shipping by sea? Plan ahead, way ahead. And be prepared to pay.