Red Sea and Suez Canal Crisis Update

Red Sea and Suez Canal Crisis Update

Red Sea and Suez Canal Crisis Update

Red Sea and Suez Canal Crisis Update: Houthi Attacks, Shipping Disruptions, and Rising Rates.

The global shipping industry continues to sail across a complex landscape of challenges. While the Red Sea and Suez Canal face ongoing security concerns affecting vital trade routes, a separate issue has emerged – a severe drought affecting the Panama Canal.

This drought has significantly reduced water levels, forcing the Panama Canal Authority to restrict the number of ships passing through the canal. This restriction, leading to a 36% reduction in crossings, has caused delays and increased shipping costs for businesses worldwide.

Houthi Attacks Persist Despite International Naval Presence

The US-led international task force, Operational Prosperity Guardian, has been unable to fully deter Houthi attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. Since mid-November, 23 vessels have been targeted, including a recent attack on a Maersk container ship. This incident involved rockets, drones, and an attempted hijacking, prompting a strong response from the US Navy.

The situation remains tense, with Iran deploying warships to the Red Sea and Houthi missile attacks continuing.

Suez Canal Traffic Declines as Ships Reroute

Most container carriers are opting to bypass the Red Sea due to security concerns. While Maersk and CMA CGM initially planned to resume some Red Sea sailings, the attack on the Maersk vessel has led them to suspend operations indefinitely.

Longer Voyages and Potential Congestion

Diverted routes add 7-14 days to journey times, impacting importers and potentially leading to port congestion. Carriers are adding vessels and adjusting schedules to maintain service, but this could lead to empty container shortages in Asia. Additionally, some shippers might shift cargo from the East Coast to the West Coast of the US to avoid extended transit times.

Impact on Container Rates

The longer routes and increased risk have caused freight rates to spike. Uneek Group Terminal data shows significant increases:

  • Asia-North Europe: 173% increase to over 4,000/FEU
  • Asia-Mediterranean: Doubled to over 5,000/FEU
  • Asia-North America East Coast: 52% increase to 3,900/FEU
  • Asia-West Coast: Increased by over 1,000 to 2,713/FEU

While these rates are high, they remain significantly lower than peak pandemic levels. Additionally, unlike the pandemic, carriers currently have more capacity to adapt to rerouting needs.

Air Cargo Not Significantly Impacted

Despite ocean freight delays, there haven’t been major shifts to air cargo yet. Uneek Group Air Index data shows stable or even decreasing rates for some routes.

Uneek Group: Navigating Challenges, Ensuring Delivery

At Uneek Group, we understand the complexities of the Red Sea crisis. Our experienced team is constantly monitoring the situation and developing strategies to mitigate disruptions for your shipments. We offer a range of solutions, including:

  • Route optimization: Exploring alternative routes that balance security and efficiency.
  • Sea-air options: Combining airfreight speed with sea freight affordability for urgent cargo.
  • Real-time communication: Keeping you informed of developments and potential impacts on your shipments.
  • Proactive planning: Discussing your specific needs and tailoring solutions to ensure timely delivery.

Contact Uneek Group Today

Let Uneek Group be your trusted partner in navigating the Red Sea crisis. We are committed to providing efficient and reliable freight forwarding services, even in challenging times. Contact us today to discuss your specific needs and explore how we can help ensure the smooth flow of your cargo.

About this Blog

If you have any questions about this blog or the current timelines for shipping, please contact us via our website at

Address: Uneek House, Amberley Way, Hounslow, Middlesex, TW4 6BH
Call: +44 (0) 20 8569 4949
E-mail: [email protected]
Blog Title: Red Sea and Suez Canal Crisis Update
Blog Author: Mark Watts