The situation in the Red Sea continues to intensify with the very recent attack on the MAERSK HUANGZHOU. And the announcement from Grant Shapps that the UK are “willing to take direct action”.

These most recent escalations have increased the pressure on the freight market and has seen freight rates quadruple (and more in some cases) as shippers fight for available space, on reduced sailings, ahead of Chinese New Year.

The carriers that form the “THE Alliance (THEA)”  have already notified the market that, due to the re-routing around the Cape of Good Hope, they will only have 3 sailings leaving China in January. Meanwhile, the Ocean Alliance (OA) is committing to weekly sailings by injecting vessels into their schedules. However, these will be smaller G type vessels that have less capacity than their A type vessels. And, coupled with THE Alliance’s reduced sailings, there will be pressure on this fragile network.

What to do.

We will continue to update our customers on the ETA of shipments that have recently left Asia.

If you have any concerns regarding any future shipments, please get in touch.

We’ll continue to keep you updated as the situation develops.


Previous update: 19th December 2023

The spate of recent attacks in the Red Sea have intensified significantly during December and this has prompted the container shipping lines to pause operations as they consider how to protect the safety of their crews and cargo.

After Yemen’s Houthi militant group claimed responsibility for the ongoing attacks, carriers, including MAERSK, CMA CGM, MSC, HAPAG LLOYD and EVERGREEN, have confirmed that they are considering re-routing their vessels around the African Cape of Good Hope.

This re-routing option can add between 10 to 14 days to the proposed transit times and has the potential to cause major congestion on final arrival to UK / European Ports.

Currently there is very limited information from the Shipping Lines, but AFS will continue to monitor the situation and keep our customers updated.

In the meantime, AFS customers should continue to check the ETA of shipments via our tracking portal – the link to this is on each Advice of Departure notice that we have sent you.

We will update the ETA of your shipments as soon as the carriers confirm their decision on a vessel by vessel basis.