Posted on January 15, 2024
Global shipping news

Weekly Shipping & Logistics News Wrap, Week 3 

Top Highlights 

  • Security worries intensify in the Red Sea region. 
  • Worldwide container shipping rates reach new highs. 
  • Shipping companies grapple with escalating expenses. 
  • FBX index for January 2024 anticipates persistent disruptions. 
  • Shippers considering sea-air transport 

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

Security Concerns Escalate in Red Sea Region 

One month into the re-routing of major shipping carriers around Africa due to Red Sea tensions, the industry adapts to rapid changes. U.S. carriers, with special permissions from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), are implementing quicker surcharge changes. Amidst security incidents the FMC plans a February 7th hearing to address these impacts on shipping and supply chains. Current updates from carriers indicate a continued preference for the Cape of Good Hope route, signalling a strategic shift away from the Suez Canal in the near term. 

Global Container Freight Rates Hit New Peaks 

The industry has witnessed a notable spike in container freight rates. According to Drewry’s World Container Index, there has been a 15% increase in rates, reaching $3,072 per 40ft container last week. This marks a 44% rise compared to the same period last year and a significant 116% increase from the pre-pandemic levels. Key routes like Shanghai to Genoa and Shanghai to Rotterdam have seen some of the most substantial rate hikes, reflecting the ongoing volatility in the global shipping market. 

Shippers Confront Rising Costs and Cargo Prioritisation Challenges 

In more shipping and logistics latest news, shippers are facing severe challenges due to escalating costs and changes in cargo prioritisation by carriers. Reports indicate rates exceeding $10,000 per 40ft for certain routes, with carriers favouring higher-paying spot cargo over long-term rate agreements. This shift has led to a turbulent market, urging shippers to adapt to the rapidly changing dynamics and increasing costs in the shipping industry. Meanwhile, the J.P. Morgan Global PMI Composite Output Index, reported by S&P Global, rose to 51.0 in December, marking the fastest pace of growth since July 2023. 

FBX Index January 2024 Predicts Persistent Disruptions 

The shipping and logistics industry braces for ongoing disruptions as indicated by the latest FBX Index. The closure of the Suez routing and the shift to the Cape of Good Hope route are significant factors impacting shipping schedules and rates. An anticipated capacity crunch in Asia, due to a shortage of equipment, is expected to exacerbate the situation, leading to heightened freight rates and altered shipping schedules. 

Shippers Consider Air Freight to Tackle Red Sea Delays 

Shippers are considering using air freight strategically to address the rising delays due to the Red Sea crisis, with some expecting airfreight rates to reflect this shift in the coming week, although there hasn’t been a significant change in rates yet, according to experts. Some shippers are exploring combined sea-air transport options to meet delivery deadlines, but opinions differ on the sustainability of the sea-air demand boom, with some opting for airfreight more extensively and others using it selectively based on their specific needs. 

House of Shipping Insight 

Facing unprecedented challenges, the shipping and logistics industry is at a critical juncture. The significant rise in global container freight rates underscores its vulnerability to supply chain shifts and economic changes. Shippers are forced to deal with escalating costs and changing carrier priorities, highlighting the need for more resilient logistics strategies. The January 2024 FBX Index illustrates the enduring impact of geopolitical events like the Suez Canal closure, disrupting schedules and inflating rates, and prompting a strategic re-evaluation of shipping routes and alliances. 

Weekly Shipping & Logistics News Wrap, Week 3 

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