Updated Situation Red Sea

Since the attacks on merchant ships in mid-December, the situation in the Red Sea has worsened once again. There was also another attack on 26 December.

  • Red Sea
  • Sea Freight

Almost all shipping companies have informed us that ships are being diverted via the Cape of Good Hope. Only the shipping companies Maersk and CMA intend to transit the Suez Canal and the Red Sea with a limited number of ships.

It can be assumed that the situation will not ease in the short term and that ships will continue to take the route around Africa until further notice. These measures will lead to massive disruption to shipping and supply chains. Especially since another merchant ship was attacked in the Red Sea on 26 December.

Due to the current situation, some ships may not be able to return to China on time, resulting in a shortage of empty containers. If a loaded container is imported to China, it can sometimes take a week for it to be picked up, unloaded and returned empty. This is a domino effect that can lead to a further worsening of the situation in a few weeks' time. Especially considering the rush due to the Lunar New Year. There could then be capacity available on the container ships, but the empty containers will be missing.

To summarise, the equipment situation, longer transit times, overbooked capacities and thinning out of departures before Lunar New are having a noticeable impact on freight rates. The shipping companies have already informed us about the introduction of a peak season surcharge from 1 January 2024 (sailing date), which applies to sailings from Asia to Europe and Europe to Asia. It cannot be ruled out that shipowners will introduce further surcharges such as the War Risk Surcharge or Piracy Risk Surcharge in the short term.

It is currently difficult to estimate how long this tense situation will last. However, it must currently be assumed that the effects will last until the end of Q1/2024. If the route through the Suez Canal is not passable again in the foreseeable future, the disruption to the transport chain may last even longer.

Despite all the circumstances, we will of course endeavour to ship your consignments promptly and as cost-effectively as possible!

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