As we head into the new year tensions in a key shipping route remains high as major shipping lines divert away from the Red Sea region. Attacks in the area have brought supply chain disruption at a time where already fewer vessels can pass through another key route, the Panama Canal, due to drought conditions.

Only a few days ago though, Denmark’s Maersk Co stated they would restart sailing of almost all container vessels between Asia and Europe in the Red Sea whilst many other shipping companies remained diverting around Africa. This restart was under the agreement a deployment of a US led military operation was implemented to guarantee a safe passage.

Today however it was reported that a Maersk vessel came under attack twice from Houthis rebels in small boats. The US Navy quickly intervened to neutralise the attacks although the situation continues to be volatile.

Major shipping companies such as Hapag Lloyd and MSC stopped using Red Sea routes earlier this month which has seen immediate surcharges implemented for alternative routings due to the use of more fuel and time.

The rerouting of ships to avoid attacks from Yemens Houthi militant group has been around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope adding 3,500 nautical miles to a journey. This has meant customers are experiencing extra fees and lengthy delays to transport their shipments from Asia to Europe and to the east coast of North America.

All schedules globally are now subject to change. It is important that businesses prepare their supply chain for delays and surcharges as another period of uncertainty in global shipping looks likely as we head into 2024.

Please contact Luisa Fletcher here for up-to-date information on your sea freight shipments. News on any key developments will be provided on our website and social media channels.