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Significant Changes in the Shipping Industry after the Red Sea Crisis

Following the impactful attacks by the Houthi group on commercial shipments, especially container ships, the shipping industry has undergone substantial changes. This analysis focuses on the decrease in the number of large inactive vessels this week, highlighting the adaptability of shipping companies in the face of threats, with the deployment of tonnage to maintain schedules, especially on the Cape route.

After the attacks on ships bound for Israel and connections with the United States and the United Kingdom, the trend of redirecting ships around the Cape of Good Hope began in December. The report highlights that, due to the compliance with exports before the Chinese New Year, no large container ship has been recorded as inactive this week. The reactivation of two ultra-large container ships in the last two weeks has led to all vessels over 12,500 TEUs being operational now.

The Alphaliner report reveals that inactive capacity has reached its lowest point in 19 months, with only 89 vessels of 226,051 TEUs inactive. More recent data from Linerlytica suggests that the figure has decreased even further, with only 78 non-operational vessels totaling 125,425 TEUs, representing 0.4% of the fleet.

It is highlighted that a significant amount of capacity was reactivated from dry dock to cope with the “inflated” demand during this period. Additionally, 21 vessels of 178,751 TEUs came out of dry dock and resumed operations, and the total dry dock capacity is the lowest since March 2021, at 313,031 TEUs.

Alphaliner suggests that shipping companies are redesigning their networks to incorporate the deviation via Africa, along with expected omissions of sailings in the quiet period after the Chinese New Year and the arrival of many new vessels, which could change the situation of tight tonnage supply in the coming months.

Linerlytica reports that 43 vessels were delivered in the last 30 days, totaling 303,601 TEUs. Combined statistics also reveal an expected increase in capacity on Asia-to-Europe routes by 23.3%, reaching a historical high of 6.44 million TEUs, as a result of the deviation from the Suez Canal to the Cape route since December 2023.

Linerlytica’s analysis highlights an unexpected increase in demand for intra-European capacity due to the crisis in the Red Sea, with a 24.8% increase on intra-European routes, especially in the Mediterranean and routes between Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

In conclusion, the shipping industry’s adaptability to crises and geopolitical conflicts is reflected in the rapid reactivation of vessels and the redesign of routes. The current situation, with increased capacity and changes in commercial flows, reveals the complexity of maritime supply chain dynamics.

Source: Information based on reports from Alphaliner and Linerlytica