Maersk has now halted shipping through the Red Sea until further notice. A group of Maersk vessels waiting at the mouth of the Gulf of Aden for further instructions after the attack on the Maersk Hangzhou on December 31 are now moving south around Africa to get to Europe.
Overnight the Houthi’s claimed yesterday’s reported attack – noting that missiles were intended to hit CMA CGM TAGE, providing the reason that this vessel was heading towards the ‘ports of occupied Palestine’.
The vessel, however, is operating on a service that typically would not call in Israel. This and the other attacks in recent weeks demonstrate that despite what the Houthis are saying through their official communications channels, they appear to be targeting merchant ships indiscriminately.
Some carriers are experiencing localised shortages of equipment, but our team in China is reporting that equipment availability overall looks okay until to the end of January. As Chinese New Year approaches we expect this to become a more widespread problem.
Space / Blank sailings
Vessels due to depart China in Jan H1 are almost full and those due to depart in the second half of the month are nearing capacity, so space is tight and will get tighter as vessels are unable to get back to Asia as scheduled. The latest information we have is to expect a 20-30% capacity reduction from the third week in January. This may lead to an increase in blank sailings as we approach the Chinese New Year period (10th Feb 2024).
Preparing for future bookings
Suppliers should be making their booking as early as possible – at least 3-4 weeks before vessel departure. We expect scheduling challenges to continue to be a problem over the next few months, so please plan ahead.
Please get in touch with your main Ligentia point of contact if you wish to discuss your specific situation and get the latest available information on the disruption.