Most of the shipping containers that we sell are manufactured in China, and brought to the UK on shipping vessels owned by Maersk, MSC, Hapag-Lloyd and other shipping groups. The Red Sea is a crucial maritime route connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal, and any crisis in the region will disrupt the normal flow of maritime traffic. Shortages are also being predicted; according to industry portal Baltic Exchange on January 11, around 780,000 standard containers fewer than expected will arrive in Asia before mid-February 2024.
The shipping groups mentioned above are having to halt or reroute traffic, which is having a huge impact on costs and the timely delivery of shipping containers. About 12% of global trade passes through the Red Sea, including 30% of global container traffic. Some ships are being diverted around the Cape of Good Hope, on the southern tip of Africa, increasing their journey time by up to two weeks.
Increased security risks and disruptions will also lead to higher insurance costs for shipping companies. Insurers may adjust their premiums to account for the increased risk in the region, which will contribute to the rise of container prices. Port congestion and additional charges will also contribute. According to Reuters, rerouting a ship around Africa adds roughly 10 days and $1 million in fuel costs for each one-way voyage between Asia and Europe.
The current turnaround for new (once shipped) containers to arrive from China is around 6 weeks, these issues are adding another 2-3 weeks on their arrival. Thankfully we work extremely closely with some of the UK’s major shipping container lines, and we are working around the clock to fulfil our existing new (once shipped) container orders before the crisis worsens.
If you have been considering a new (once shipped) container, please get in touch with us asap to enquire about our current stock situation.