Red Sea and Suez Canal situation

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Updates following missile attacks on cargo ships

December 22, 2023

The recent missile attacks against cargo ships in the Red Sea have seriously compromised the safety of navigation on that route.

To preserve the safety of the crew, ships and goods, the main shipping carriers have decided to reroute their ships around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope.

This situation is bringing some consequences which we briefly report:

  • Re-routing via the Cape of Good Hope will prolong transit times by 2 and 4 weeks for services to and from Asia towards Northern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean
  • Ports congestions
  • Lack of equipment
  • Sea freight increases from 1 January 2024

At the moment it is not possible to make any predictions or communicate definitive installments until the situation is clearer and more stable. We will keep you updated on developments in this regard.


December 27, 2023: some carriers return to Red Sea

With the deployment of the international security coalition in the region (Operation Prosperity Guardian), several carriers including Maersk and Cma Cgm are beginning to restore some services while others continue to say it is too soon due to the instability and safety issues.

In the meanwhile carries are starting sending the updated sea rates for the month of January, including the Contingency Surcharges (CSU) & Emergency Revenue Charges (ERC).

January 15, 2024

Following the continuous attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militants on ships trading with Israel and transiting the Red Sea, most major carriers decided to sail around Africa instead of going through the Suez Canal route.

The diversion around the Cape of Good Hope is estimated to see goods arrive in Europe 7-20 days later than is normally possible through the Suez route.

The longer sailing times are not the only problem either. Shipping lines will have to deal with the dangers of the Indian Ocean, which presents rougher seas, and the threat of pirates in some areas on the African coastline. Insurance costs will also be higher than the old-status quo just a few weeks ago.

The crisis means Asia-Europe sea freight will cost more too.

Despite all this, transporting goods via sea rather than air is still noticeably cheaper than by other transport modes. For those transporting large volumes, sea freight also has the upper hand over the air freight sector, which is more limited in terms of capacity.



This inevitably means longer delivery times, while container freight rates have also shot up due to the crisis.

We remain available for any questions and quotation request.


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