In the face of growing port congestion resulting from the Red Sea crisis Maersk and MSC are struggling to maintain weekly schedules between East Asia and the Mediterranean.

Marcus Hand | Jun 04, 2024

In a customer advisory MSC said: “Due to the current challenging situation generating terminal congestions and longer waiting times in Asia and Mediterranean ports, MSC is planning to adjust the sailing program on its Asia to the Mediterranean network to match the actual departure dates from Asia.”

The week 25 sailing of MSC’s and Maersk’s Jade/AE11 service has been pushed to week 26 on the MSC Amelia and is now expected to depart Qingdao on 1 July. Meanwhile the week 26 sailing of MSC’s Tiger and Maersk’s AE15 service has been shifted to week 27 and the MSC Mirjam is expected to depart Busan on 2 July.

“Due to significant terminal congestions in Mediterranean and Asia ports, we are experiencing substantial delays in our vessel schedules. This congestion has resulted in extended waiting times at various ports, impacting our ability to maintain regular schedules,” Maersk said in a customer advisory.

Rerouting via the Cape of Good Hope adds around two weeks sailing to an Asia – Med voyage and there are reports of growing congestion at Med ports and key hubs in Asia such as Singapore. As shippers scramble for space ahead of the peak season spot rates have shot up to their highest levels since August 2022 with the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index passing the 3,000 points mark on 31 May.

On 3 June Maersk upped its full year full year earnings guidance. The Danish shipping company upped its full year 2024 EBIT forecast to $1 – $3 billion from negative $2 billion – $0 previously and its full year EBITDA forecast to $7 – $9 billion from $4 – $6 billion previously.