Geopolitical tensions in Red Sea increase container prices by 120 percent in 6 months

(MENAFN) Recent reports indicate a significant disruption in container traffic through the Red Sea, largely attributed to a shift in shipping routes following attacks on Israeli vessels by Iranian-backed Houthis operating from Yemen. According to Drewry, a leading research firm, the 40-feet container composite index surged to USD5,868 by July 4, marking a remarkable 120 percent increase over the past six months. This spike reflects the challenges and operational adjustments faced by global shipping networks amid geopolitical tensions impacting critical maritime routes.

The World Container Index (WCI) also saw substantial gains, rising by 10 percent for the week ending July 4 alone. Comparatively, the index soared by an astonishing 298 percent when compared to the same period last year, underscoring the magnitude of recent disruptions. The redirection of ships to transit via the Cape of Good Hope, circumventing the Red Sea, has extended voyage durations by 10 to 14 days. This shift has resulted in a notable 125 percent increase in commercial ship transits through the Cape of Good Hope, highlighting the scale of rerouting efforts undertaken by the maritime industry.

Specifically, on major shipping routes such as Shanghai-New York and Shanghai-Los Angeles, the WCI for 40-feet containers has seen substantial increases. Over the past six months, rates surged by 137 percent to reach USD9,158 on the Shanghai-New York route, and by 174 percent to USD7,472 on the Shanghai-Los Angeles route. These sharp price hikes reflect the additional costs incurred by shipping companies navigating longer routes and adjusting to heightened operational risks associated with alternative passages.

In essence, the disruption in container traffic through the Red Sea underscores broader challenges faced by the global shipping industry amidst geopolitical tensions. As maritime routes adapt and operational costs rise, stakeholders are navigating complex dynamics to ensure the continuity of global supply chains amidst evolving security and economic landscapes.



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