Posted on January 29, 2024
Global shipping news

Weekly Shipping & Logistics News Wrap, Week 5 

Top Highlights 

  • WCI spot rates stabilize for Asia-Europe, Pacific rates rise. 
  • Gemini alliance unveils ‘Hub & Spoke’ strategy. 
  • Container shipping resilient amidst Panama transit trends. 
  • THE Alliance responds to Hapag-Lloyd’s exit. 
  • Escalating Somali piracy threatens security. 

Let’s look at the above shipping and logistics news in more detail:  

WCI spot rates steady for Asia-Europe, Pacific rates climb 

Drewry’s World Container Index surged by 5% to reach $3,964 per 40ft container last week. This represents a 94% increase compared to the same week last year. The average rate for the year-to-date is $3,371 per 40ft container, significantly higher than the 10-year average. The WCI spot rates show Asia-Europe rate levels flattening out whereas Pacific rates continue to increase. While the rates on the Asia-Europe trade increased by a marginal 1% WoW, Shanghai to Los Angeles and Shanghai to New York rose by 13% and 9% respectively.  

Gemini’s ‘Hub & Spoke’ Plan for Ports 

In more shipping and logistics news, the Gemini Cooperation alliance is set to use a ‘hub & spoke’ network strategy at European ports, with hubs in Rotterdam and German ports. However, direct calls may be reduced at certain ports, such as DCT Gdansk, as carriers adapt their routes. The alliance partners aim to achieve a 90% reliability record, but industry experts remain cautious about the impact of these changes. The evolving landscape in the shipping industry, including geopolitical challenges and supply-demand imbalances, adds complexity to alliance decisions.  

Container Shipping Defies Panama Transit Trends 

In the latest shipping and logistics industry news, while overall transit trends in the Panama Canal decreased by 42% year-on-year in December, container shipping saw a 5% increase in transits compared to October. Container ships are benefiting from the diversion of other vessel types from the waterway. Draught restrictions in the locks, however, may limit the payload for container ships. The situation in the Panama Canal is influenced by factors such as changing vessel types and weather conditions.  

THE Alliance Addresses Hapag-Lloyd’s Departure 

Following Hapag-Lloyd’s announcement of a new vessel-sharing alliance with Maersk, the partners in THE Alliance reaffirmed their commitment to cooperation in 2024. Speculation surrounds the future of THE Alliance after January 2025. The departure of Hapag-Lloyd has raised questions about the alliance’s future structure. Options for the remaining members, ONE, Yang Ming, and HMM, are being considered, including the possibility of inviting Taiwan’s Wan Hai to join. Changes in the alliance landscape continue to impact the industry.  

Somali Piracy on the Rise 

Reports indicate an increase in Somali piracy, with incidents in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) reported an aggressive approach by armed individuals in the Gulf of Aden, while a Sri Lankan fishing vessel was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. Despite these incidents, shipping traffic through the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandeb continues, dispelling misconceptions about its closure. While some large vessels are diverting around Africa instead of using the Suez Canal, it remains open for business.  

House of Shipping Insight 

The surge in container rates to record highs, coupled with the rise in Somali piracy incidents, highlights the challenges and uncertainties faced by the shipping and logistics industry. The strategic shifts in alliance structures, such as the Gemini Cooperation, demonstrate the industry’s adaptability in response to changing market conditions. While the Panama Canal faces fluctuations in transit trends, container shipping remains resilient. 

Weekly Shipping & Logistics News Wrap, Week 5 

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