Container freight prices rocket

The continuing crisis in the Red Sea is having big impacts on global trade and container freight prices


The Red Sea crisis – with unpredictable attacks on shipping heading to and from the Suez Canal now into their fourth month – is having a bigger impact this year on shipping volumes than the pandemic.

Around 12-15% of global trade and 20-30% of global container shipping normally passes through the Red Sea. Thanks to the current disruptions and uncertainty, these levels have dropped dramatically. As a result, container freight prices peaked at the end of January at a level more than 200% above rates for the end of 2023.

All this is bad news for those hoping for a smooth path to an early economic recovery, especially in Europe, as well as for the environment. When ships have to take a longer, alternative route and shipping lines are forced also to shift capacities to smaller, less fuel-efficient vessels, greenhouse gas emissions also climb dramatically.

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