And while education prices are predictable - which is good for the young Mr Gladden - shipping prices are not.

3 months ago, we told you how the price of imported goods was starting to trend up.

Experts in the shipping industry described it as a side-effect of global supply chain disruptions, shortages of containers, an increase in the price per freight, among other factors.

Well, international press reports are indicating that container shipping rates from China, a major manufacturing country, to the United States have spiked above $20,000 US per 40-foot box. These major price hikes, which experts assert haven't happened in shipping for more than 30 years, are taking place just before the peak in the US shopping season.

It is being attributed to the acceleration of outbreaks in the COVID-19 Delta variants, which have slowed global container turnaround rates.

Of course, those higher freight costs will drive up shelf prices right here in Belize. Today, customs broker Delroy Fairweather spoke with 7News via Zoom, and he provided some insight on how these hikes in global shipping prices will affect the cost of goods for Belizean consumers:

Delroy Fairweather - VP, Customs Brokers Association of Belize
"I think if anyone realizes by now, the pandemic has created such a frenzy in the whole shipping industry because basically, what is happening now is that for you to get goods shipped into Belize — let's say we're talking about from China. In 2019, we were looking at a container of goods probably around $4,000 US. 2021, it's almost 9,000 US from certain shipping lines, and it goes as much as $15,000 US from other lines. And, the cause of this is, again, the pandemic, where goods are backed up at ports. Vessels are not being offloaded on time. Shortages of equipment they refer to as containers, because that is the primary way that goods are shipped into the country. So, with all that, it's kinda like a jostle for countries like Belize, where we would only order - let's say - 10 or 15 containers of products, as opposed to other countries which are ordering 100-200 containers. So, of course, those countries would get preference, and then, the other thing we're looking at is the size of vessels that can come to Belize are restricted based on the draft and so forth. So, we are basically at the end of the shipping line, so to speak. So, we have like the residual effect, but the flip side to that is that having the goods purchases, purchasing the goods at a certain price and your freight then, in certain cases are over a 100% of the cost of the goods, That automatically translates to the price of good going up. With containerized cargo, we could see - as I said, I have seen where definitely products that are shipped into Belize, the freight is over 120% of the cost of the goods. So, imagine, if this item costs 1 dollar, you're paying 1 dollar and 25 cents additionally to get that product to Belize. So, again, as I said, that's already an increase in the cost of the product, and you haven't looked at the duties of that product, which let's say around another 40%. So, that's 40 cents. By the time that product arrives here in port, and you clear it, you're almost around 2 dollars to 2 dollars and 25 cents for something that you would have normally paid around 1 dollar and 50 cents for. So, that's where the freight plays a significant role in the cost of products."

The increase in charter rates has reportedly forced shipping firms to prioritize their focus on the most lucrative shipping routes.

Channel 7