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  May 8th, 2024 | Written by

Maersk Adjusts Surcharges Amid Escalating Red Sea Risks

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Recent developments in the Red Sea have prompted Maersk Line to implement surcharge adjustments and reroute vessels, signaling heightened concerns for maritime security and operational costs.

Read also: Maersk Warns of Continued Red Sea Disruptions, Affecting Global Shipping Capacity

Abdul Malik Al-Houthi’s announcement of escalated operations in the Red Sea has raised alarms, with Maersk Line noting an expansion of the “risk zone” and increased attacks reaching further offshore. As a response, Maersk has revised its peak season surcharge on the Asia-North Europe route, tripling it from $250 per TEU to $750 per TEU starting from May 11th.

The situation in the Red Sea has already led to a significant loss of capacity for Maersk, estimated at between 15% and 20%. This loss, coupled with a 13% drop in revenues in Q1, has compelled the Danish carrier to reroute vessels around the Cape of Good Hope for the foreseeable future. While this measure prioritizes the safety of crew, vessels, and cargo, it incurs additional time and costs for cargo delivery.

The entry of Iranian military personnel into the Red Sea theatre, exemplified by the recent hijacking of MSC Aries, has further complicated matters. Maersk has highlighted the knock-on effects of this situation, including bottlenecks, vessel bunching, delays, and shortages in equipment and capacity.

Israel’s recent attack on an Iranian airbase, in response to an earlier Iranian airstrike, has added another layer of tension to the region. While Minister Miri Regev asserts that Israel’s message was received, security experts like Hans Tino Hansen of Risk Intelligence evaluate the Houthi and Iranian threat cautiously. While the Houthis could potentially expand their reach with Iranian support, such actions may incur diplomatic consequences, particularly against US and UK-related vessels.

Maersk emphasizes that diversion around the Cape of Good Hope increases fuel consumption by 40% per ship, hinting at possible future alterations to surcharges to offset these additional costs. Regular review of surcharges is assured to keep customers informed of any changes.