Industry Update – February 2024

Attention: Shipping Manager


Situation in USA

  • Situation in Panama Canal

Regarding the ongoing water situation in the Panama Canal mentioned in previous broadcasts, shipping lines have announced changes to services that will affect cargo movements through the area. Based on the current and projected water levels in Gatun Lake, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has needed to make reductions to the amount and weight of vessels that can pass through the canal. To ensure that cargo continues to move with as few delays as possible, lines are proposing vessels now omit the Panama Canal and use a “land bridge” that unitises rail to transport cargo across the 80km of Panama to the other side. This would include services that connect Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand with US Central and East Coast.

(Source: DCN)


Situation in Europe

  • Situation in Suez Canal

The crisis in the Red Sea/Suez Canal is creating simulated cargo demand and masking growing imbalance of supply vs demand in the container liner industry, as vessel voyage times are extended around Africa. Diversions via the much longer Cape of Good Hope route have created an artificial cargo demand that cargo volumes alone would not have supported. The uncertain near-term outlook on the Red Sea situation and the traditional rush to get cargo shipped out before the Chinese New Year holidays, will likely induce extra demand for shipping capacity in the coming weeks.  Weekly transits through the canal have decreased by an estimated 42% over the last two months, with major players in the shipping industry temporarily suspending Suez transits.

(Source: Loadstar/Middle East Monitor)


  • Switches to airfreight will see rates soar

Shippers are eyeing the use of airfreight to mitigate the increasing delays caused by the Panama Canal and Red Sea attacks. Experts say that the move to air would begin to be reflected in rates in the coming weeks.  So far there has been a slight increase but nothing too drastic as the cost between air and ocean is still quite large.

(Source: Loadstar)


  • Road blocks spreading across Europe causing major delays

The World Road Transport Organisation (IRU) has urged EU member states to address the “threat to free movement” from protests by farmers and truckers sweeping across Europe.  While protests have been occurring in France and Germany since December, over the past few days the protests have begun to spread further.  Road blocks and disruptions are expected to continue causing delays in the delivery of goods.

(Source: Loadstar)


Situation in Asia

  • Red Sea crisis shocks Asia’s fuel markets

The Red Sea shipping crisis is sending shockwaves through Asia’s fuel markets, increasing costs even on routes that do not use the waterway. Rates for shipping products such as petrol have jumped, as some vessels sail longer distances to avoid the Red Sea after attacks.  Given the surge in freight costs, there are signs that fuel producers are having to slash cargo prices to keep supplies affordable for customers.

(Source: South China Morning Post)


General Rate Increase from US West Coast/Canada to Australia/New Zealand:

We received notifications this month from some shipping lines in regards to a General Rate Increase from US West Coast/Canada to Australia/New Zealand, details as follows:

Effective from 3 February 2024:

USD 100/20’

USD 200/40’

LCL will increase accordingly.


General Rate Increase from Australia/New Zealand to Africa/India/Middle East:

We received notifications this month from some shipping lines in regards to a General Rate Increase from Australia/New Zealand to Africa/India/Middle East, details as follows:

Effective from 1 February 2024:

USD 500/per container

LCL will increase accordingly.


Destination Port Infrastructure Increases:

Destination Port Infrastructure surcharge has increased for Sydney and Melbourne effective immediately. Updated surcharges are given below:

Sydney Destination Port Infrastructure surcharge = AUD 230 per container

Melbourne Destination Port Infrastructure surcharge = AUD 250 per container


Sydney Empty Container Park Fee Increase:

Destination Empty Container Park Fee in Sydney has increased to AUD 205, effective immediately.


Fremantle Timeslot Booking Fee Increase:

Destination Timeslot Booking Fee in Fremantle has increased to AUD 75, effective immediately.


We will keep you updated with further information.