Posted on December 18, 2023
Global shipping news

Weekly Shipping & Logistics News Wrap, Week 51

Top Highlights

  • Shipping costs set to rise due to rerouted Red Sea traffic.
  • Drewry Index reports 4% increase in container rates.
  • Positive demand forecasts drive charter market growth.
  • Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk revise surcharges.
  • Potential congestion at US west coast ports.

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

Red Sea Route Disruption Leads to Soaring Costs and Delays

The shipping industry is expecting a 30% surge in freight and insurance costs, alongside a two-week delay in consignment deliveries to Europe. This is a result of major shipping companies like AP Moller-Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, and Hapag-Lloyd diverting from the Red Sea and Suez Canal routes due to security concerns. The alternate route via the Cape of Good Hope extends the transit time significantly thus impacting global trade.

Container Shipping Rates on the Rise

The Drewry World Container Index reports a 4% increase in global container spot rates to $1,521 per 40ft container for last week. This rise is juxtaposed against a 28% drop compared to last year’s rates. However, the current rates still exceed the pre-pandemic average of 2019. The index also shows regional variations, with significant increases on major routes like Shanghai to Rotterdam and Shanghai to New York.

Optimistic Demand Forecasts Revitalise Charter Market

Ocean carriers, buoyed by better-than-expected demand prospects, are re-entering the charter market. Despite the scarcity of larger vessels, the market has seen a flurry of activity. Analysts anticipate a modest 3-4% demand growth next year. This positive outlook is prompting carriers to increase their freight rates, especially in the Asia-North Europe trade lane.

Carriers Adjust ETS Surcharges Amid New EU Regulations

In some more shipping and logistics latest news, with the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) set to take effect in January, carriers are updating their surcharge rates. Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk have released their final surcharge rates for Q1 2024, showing significant adjustments from their initial estimates. The varied methodologies used by carriers to calculate these surcharges add complexity to the new regulation.

US West Coast Ports Brace for Renewed Congestion

Experts warn of a potential resurgence of congestion at major US west coast ports next year. Structural limitations and organizational challenges within the ports are key concerns. Solutions involving data utilization for smoother operations are suggested to mitigate these issues.

House of Shipping Insight

This week’s shipping and logistics industry news points to what is a pivotal juncture in the shipping industry. The diversion from the Red Sea route underscores the sector’s vulnerability to geopolitical tensions, resulting in cost escalations and logistical complexities. The Drewry World Container Index illustrates the dynamic nature of freight rates, reflecting both regional variances and broader market trends. The charter market’s resurgence, fuelled by optimistic demand forecasts, suggests a cautious recovery but also highlights the need for careful capacity management.  

The implementation of the EU ETS and the resultant surcharge adjustments by carriers like Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk reveal the industry’s growing focus on environmental compliance, albeit with operational challenges, while the looming congestion at US west coast ports serves as a reminder of the critical need for infrastructural and organizational improvements to cope with increasing demand.

Weekly Shipping & Logistics News Wrap, Week 51

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