CONTAINER SHIPPING RATES SPIKE AS RED SEA CRISIS DRAWS FIRST BLOOD
For cargo importers, the outlook is now clear: higher freight costs and longer delays. For liner profits, sentiment is increasingly bullish — but there are uncertainties. Spot rates and surcharges are rising fast, but liner costs are also increasing due to much higher fuel consumption from longer voyages, as well as other expenses. Meanwhile, quarterly liner cargo volumes could be hard-hit in the near term as ships are tied up in diversions.
ITALIAN CONTAINER LINE KALYPSO FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
Genoa-based liner Kalypso Compagnia di Navigazione has filed for liquidation.
Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas crippled the Italian container line. A charter conflict broke out between Kalypso and Zhonggu Shipping with the Chinese tonnage provider refusing to allow its four 2,518 teu’s ships to call in Israel. The vessels had been deployed on Kalypso’s Marco Polo service connecting Asia with the Mediterranean. Kalypso is the liner shipping subsidiary of the Italian forwarding company RifLine, which entered the Asia – Europe trade during the covid pandemic.
US, MEXICAN PARTNERSHIP TO EXPAND INTERNATIONAL RAIL CAR-FERRY SERVICE
Short line rail operator Genesee & Wyoming (G&W) announced Tuesday that Grupo Mexico Transportes (GMXT) will become its partner in CG Railway LLC, a rail car-ferry operation linking ports in the U.S. and Mexico. CG Railway’s ferry service offers weekly trips between the ports of Mobile and Coatzacoalcos. The service gives shippers access to 13 ports in the U.S. and Mexico through rail interchanges in both countries. GMXT’s purchase of stakes in Golfo de Mexico Rail Ferry Holdings LLC and Rail Ferry Vessel Holdings LLC are also part of the company’s objective to capitalize on the $2.8 billion Interoceanic Corridor across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from Mexico’s federal government. “The acquisition allows GMXT to continue consolidating its position as a leading freight transportation company in the region, strengthening its commitment to Mexico and the south of the United States,” GMXT said in a news release.
Maersk Closes Shipping Via Red Sea & Suez Canal
Maersk announced on Tuesday that it will reroute vessels around Cape of Good Hope (Africa) and permanently halt Red Sea transits. The choice was made in response to assaults on the container vessel Maersk Hangzhou, which was assaulted by four Houthi boats on Sunday and hit by a rebel rocket on Saturday.
The Houthis’ boats got within 70 feet of the Maersk Hangzhou cargo ship before American military helicopters intervened, sparking an exchange of gunfire between the armed guards and the attackers. Ten Houthi militants were killed when the helicopters destroyed three of the four boats following their firing on US Marines. The U.S.-led coalition is discussing the possibility of conducting ground operations in Yemen as the Houthis have threatened to retaliate. Multiple explosions close to a commercial vessel were the subject of another incident that the U.K. Maritime Trade Organization recorded late on Tuesday.
The future is clearly apparent for cargo importers: increased freight expenses and extended delays. Although there is uncertainty, the sentiment regarding linear earnings remains favourable. Spot rates, including surcharges, are rapidly growing, but liner costs are also rising because of additional factors and significantly increased fuel consumption from longer trips. As a result of the ships’ diversions, quarterly liner cargo levels may suffer soon.
Container Ship Witnesses 3 Massive Explosions Southwest Of Yemen’s Mocha
Three explosions were observed close to Mocha in Yemen by a container ship flying the flag of Malta, as reported by the British maritime security company Ambrey. The event happened about 15 miles southwest of Mocha when the ship’s captain used the VHF radio to communicate with a coalition cruiser. According to Ambrey, the ship was targeted by three missiles fired from the Taiz Governorate in Yemen. The Houthi militants, who are supported by Iran and in control of a significant portion of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa, have escalated their attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. In response, several maritime companies have halted operations along the Red Sea, choosing instead to take longer routes around Africa to minimise the increased hazards.
These occurrences come after recent Houthi attacks on American Navy helicopters responding to a distress call from a cargo ship, which led to the sinking of a Houthi raiding vessel and the deaths of ten combatants. The events are still being investigated, and shipping companies are reviewing their routes and backup plans in light of the changing circumstances.
Crew Kidnapped from Tanker in Ongoing
Incident in the Gulf of Guinea
The security services are reporting an ongoing incident in the Gulf of Guinea where at least two crewmembers have been taken from a tanker operating in the area. Unconfirmed reports are suggesting that the captain might be among those taken from the vessel which was in the region near Equatorial Guinea. In the latest incident, the chemical tanker Hana I (13,000 dwt) registered in Tuvla was sailing from Abidjan in the Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to Douala in Cameroon,
according to the alert from EOS Risk Group. The tanker was reported to be in the vicinity of Malabo, on Bioko Island, the port city and capital of Equatorial Guinea, on January 1, when it was boarded by an unknown number of pirates. EOS in its alert says the initial information is that two crewmembers were taken. Tankers have been the target of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea over the course of 2023.
The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) had warned at mid-year 2023 of renewed piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea. They called for continued vigilance in the international security efforts to prevent a resurgence to the level of activity in previous years.