Yesterday, the Houthis launched a drone boat with explosives that got within a couple of miles of US Navy and merchant vessels. It was detonated without causing any damage. This indicates the variety of different tactics and weapons the Houthis have at their disposal.
There was also a pirate incident reported off the coast of Somalia that involved armed gunman boarding a Liberian flagged bulk vessel. It’s yet unclear whether these aggressors are from Somalia, the Houthis or aligned to another organisation.
The shipping lines are continuing to assess the situation and take their own approach.
Equipment: Some carriers are experiencing localised shortages of equipment, but our team in China is reporting that equipment availability overall looks okay, but will become tighter by the end of January. As Chinese New Year approaches we expect this to become a significant challenge.
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.
Our team is here to help. Please get in contact to discuss your specific situation or get the latest on the disruption.