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Drone attacks by Houthi rebels continue to take place in the Red Sea region and the Gulf of Aden: as a result, all major container shipping lines are rerouting their vessels around the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.

These actions are resulting in increased transit times, which is in turn impacting costs. Diversions are currently adding up to 10 days to transit times. It is also important to note that after deliveries have been made, there are also the same logistical challenges in returning vessels and equipment back to origin locations. Shipping companies are attempting to recover the cost incurred by the delays through additional surcharges, which will increase the door-to-door transit costs.

Asia to Northern Europe and Mediterranean routes are those that are most affected, but as the troubles continue for a prolonged period of time, other regions will begin to suffer. Shipping lines will continue to reroute their vessels until the region is deemed safe again for crews, ships and cargo.

Please be aware that when bookings are made, shipping lines will still show transit times which are based on their vessels passing through the Red Sea. Typically, they will make the decision to reroute a vessel after its last European port of call. Therefore, notice of rerouting via the Cape of Good Hope and of the extra surcharges which may apply, will often not be communicated until a vessel is already in transit.

In addition, some shipping lines have advised that containers which were rerouted in late November and December 2023, will incur Emergency Contingency Surcharges – they will communicate these costs in due course.

Finally, as we get closer to Chinese New Year on 10th February 2024, when goods in and out of the region are at a premium in terms of traffic, space is going to become extremely tight. In order to secure passage, we strongly advise that bookings are made as soon as possible.

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