Singapore, one of the world's most significant maritime hubs, is currently facing severe port congestion, further worsening the existing shortage of ships and containers. Data from maritime intelligence firms indicate that containerships now have to wait up to seven days to berth in Singapore, with recent queues involving up to 450,000 TEUs.

Up to four hours lost: the desolate handling situation at two Hamburg terminals is causing trucking companies a lot of frustration. The handling chaos at two Hamburg terminals is causing long traffic jams in the port.

A surprisingly strong market, plus lower vessel capacity due to the Red Sea crisis, is creating a shortage of both ships and containers. Empty containers out of China, especially northern China  for exports to Europe are becoming increasingly hard to get hold of.

Singapore-based Grace Ocean has officially declared General Average on its vessel, the Maersk-chartered and operated Dali, which was involved in the Francis Scott Key Bridge allision in Baltimore.

From 1 January 2024, shipping lines whose fleets call at European ports will have to purchase freely tradable emissions certificates. Maritime transport currently accounts for 2.5 per cent of global CO2 emissions and 13 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector in the EU. For this reason, the European Commission has also proposed regulatory measures for the complete decarbonisation of shipping by 2050 as part of its Fit for 55 package. In a first step, emission allowances will be issued to shipping companies, which can then be freely traded. This is intended to create a market price for CO2 emissions and incentivise emission reductions.

Shortly before the next general rate increase (GRI) by the liner shipping companies, market rates have continued to rise sharply. Last Friday, the Shanghai Index SCFI jumped by 16 per cent to over 2,206 points. The index rates for routes between the Far East and North America in particular rose surprisingly strongly. This increase illustrates how the domino effects of the crisis in the Red Sea are also affecting trades that do not necessarily pass through the region. The reasons for this are the increasing equipment (container) shortages in Asia and the lack of ship capacity due to the additional tonnage requirements for the most affected liner services between Asia and Europe.

As part of a nationwide week of action by the farmers' association, there will be considerable traffic disruptions from 8 to 15 January 2024 due to targeted road and motorway blockades. At the same time, the strike announced by the German Train Drivers' Union (GDL) from 9 to 12 January 2024 will paralyse large parts of rail traffic. We expect massive restrictions to the transport infrastructure and will continuously analyse the effects of the protests in order to avoid damage to goods or missed delivery deadlines wherever possible.

Following two attacks on a container ship belonging to the Danish shipping company Maersk Line in the Red Sea, the company has again suspended voyages through the affected area after deciding a few days earlier to venture through the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal, an important artery of world trade, remains off-limits to ships of most shipping companies following attacks by Yemeni Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.

Asia-to-Europe shippers are facing huge increases in sea freight costs, due to the escalation in missile and drone attacks by Houthi rebels on merchant shipping on passage to and from the Suez Canal. Ocean carriers are already charging war-risk surcharges, but with the situation deteriorating daily, shipping lines will increasingly look to re-route vessels around the Cape of Good Hope, rather than transiting the Suez Canal. This will add at least another 10 days to voyage times.

At the recent meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) dangerous goods panel, it was agreed to introduce a State of Charge (SoC) requirement of 30% for more categories of lithium ion batteries being transported by air.


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