Shipping companies consider surcharge for ships re-routed around Africa

By Mike Wackett (The Loadstar) –

Spot rates on containers from Asia to Europe are expected to rise again as carriers are forced to cancel crossings in response to the blockade of the Suez Canal.

The charging star understands that shipping companies are considering introducing a Cape surcharge for ships that are diverted around Africa to recoup the additional cost of bunker fuel consumed during the additional seven to ten day transit.

Christoph Baumeister, Senior Commercial Director, Asia / ISC Europe at Flexport, said the grounding of the Never given in the Suez Canal “had added even more pressure on already stressed supply chains”.

“We just saw the first carrier start shipping goods through the Cape of Good Hope, which will add at least seven days of additional transit time. A tariff increase is very likely over the next week, and once the blockage is over congestion will be inevitable with many ships arriving in ports at the same time, ”Baumeister said.

For now, however, the Northern Asia-Europe component of the Freightos Baltic Index (FBX) was down 2.3% for the week, to $ 7,501 per 40 feet. And for Mediterranean ports, a drop of 6% to $ 7,503.

Elsewhere, the Ningbo Containerized Freight Index (NCFI) commentary reported that the space between Asia and Europe had “become tight” again, suggesting spot rates would have increased next week regardless of the crisis. from the Suez Canal.

Meanwhile, on the trans-Pacific, there is still no easing in consumer demand – spurred by the distribution of $ 1,400 stimulus checks – raising spot rates and forcing BCOs to accept prices. much higher annual contractual contracts from carriers.

The FBX recorded a 13% hike in spot rates from Asia to the US west coast this week to $ 4,848 per 40 feet, although rates to the US east coast remained stable at $ 5,724 per 40 feet.

The blockade of the Suez Canal will impact services from Asia to the United States as shippers demand to reserve space on these loops.

“Demand continues to increase as we enter the final weeks of contracting season,” said Jon Monroe, of Washington state-based Jon Monroe Consulting. “Normally carriers have run blank crossings at this time of year, but this year it’s not necessary; space is precious and now everyone is going to pay for it, ”he said.

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