Red Sea Ocean Freight Update

January 26, 2024

Red Sea Ocean Freight Update

Despite more than 20 warships patrolling the Red Sea, commercial ships have continued to be targeted by Houthi rebels, including a further attack on two Maersk container ships this week.

The Maersk Chesapeake and Maersk Detroit were being escorted by the USS Gravely in the Red Sea, before being targeted by a barrage of Houthi missiles on Wednesday. The US flagged vessels, which were carrying military supplies, were forced to break from their naval convoy and fled the area to avoid being struck.

Even though the Red Sea is patrolled by naval vessels, this has not been enough to deter the Houthi rebels. The US and UK airstrikes have also seemingly done little to dampen their resolve, with US President – Joe Biden –  admitting last week that they have not prevented the attacks.

With no improvement in the situation, it looks very unlikely that steamship lines will end their routing of vessels around the Cape Of Good Hope. Therefore, it may be some time before Asia-Europe supply chains are free from delays, low capacity, and equipment shortages.

Overall capacity is set for an increase, with many carriers due to be adding more vessels during the first quarter, but it may be a few weeks before ships are positioned to align with schedules. In the meantime, we look to be set for more capacity shortages up to Chinese New Year and beyond, which may see further increases in ocean freight rates.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Unique’s ocean freight team.

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