More Ships Are Loaded With Goods For U.S. Retailers

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Shipping companies report the volume of container shipments from Asia to the United States is rising. So are their rates. The world's largest freight line says thanks to high demand; it's boosting its trans-Pacific price by $500 per 40-foot container.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A report on Christmas cargo is at the top of NPR's business news.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: If you want an early indication of how robust this year's holiday shopping season may be, take a look at the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Shipping companies report the volume of container shipments from Asia to the United States is rising. So are shipping rates. The world's largest freight line says thanks to high demand; it's boosting its trans-Pacific price by $500 per 40-foot container. China's largest shipper says its rates will increase every month until November. Industry officials say the demand is coming from American retailers. It is dropping however, in countries with big economic challenges.

As one shipping line CEO put it: Christmas will come to America, but probably not to Europe.

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