Yang Ming vessel knocks over three cranes after hitting Turkish wharf


A ship operated by Yang Ming Marine Transport slammed into a wharf in Turkey’s Evyapport on 16 March, while attempting to dock.

The 2015-built 14,000 TEU ship, YM Witness, chartered from Seaspan Corporation, reportedly knocked down three container cranes in the accident.

YM Witness, assigned to Yang Ming’s MD3 Asia-Mediterranean service, had arrived from another Turkish port, Ambarli, had a pilot on board and was trying to berth around 3.45pm local time when the accident happened.

Video footage taken by port staff shows that after the paddle wheel of the YM Witness hit the wharf, a crane swayed to the right, and collapsed after hitting another crane. As the first crane fell to the ground, it hit a second crane.

Reportedly, a worker operating one of the cranes was injured in the accident. Evyapport officials said that several containers on YM Witness also fell into the waters.

The damages are estimated to be in the region of US$50 million.

Information from VesselsValue shows that since its delivery, YM Witness has been on a 10-year charter to Yang Ming.

As of today (19 March), YM Witness remains anchored in Turkey’s Yarimca port pending investigations and repairs.

In a customer advisory issued on 18 March, Yang Ming confirmed the accident occurred and said that the rescheduling of ships and cargo transfers would be made in due course.

The Taiwanese shipping line stated, “Whereas navigational behaviour and seamanship are under the supervision and management of the ship owner, administrative enquiries and a full investigation into this incident are currently conducted in conjunction between the ship owner and the relevant maritime authorities. According to the ship owner, there are no casualties following the incident and no marine pollution has materialized for the time being.”

OCEAN Alliance rolls out new service network


OCEAN Alliance, consisting of CMA CGM, COSCO, Evergreen and OOCL, has announced the launch of its updated service network, called "DAY 8 Product".

After extending their partnership for an additional five years, the four ocean carrier allies are unveiling their new programme aimed at tackling the emerging challenges posed by the volatile conditions in the Red Sea.

The DAY 8 Product, which is expected to commence in April, will include:

The deployment of 321 container ships, including 119 vessels for the CMA CGM Group

35 services worldwide

A total capacity of approximately 4.5 million TEUs

The OCEAN Alliance DAY 8 Product will offer the following services from/to Asia:

6 services between Asia and Northern Europe

4 services between Asia and the Mediterranean

20 Transpacific services - 8 between Asia and the East Coast of the United States and 12 services between Asia and the West Coast of the United States and Canada

2 Transatlantic services connecting Northern Europe to North American ports

3 services between Asia and the ports of the Persian Gulf.

At the same time, the OCEAN Alliance will suspend its two services connecting Asia to the Red Sea until further notice due to the unstable environment in the region.

Red Sea challenges boost charter rates


Analysts and brokers are continuing to report charter rates spiralling upwards as carriers look to plug gaps in their diverted Asia to Europe services as rates, which were falling decisively in early December, make a rapid rebound.

Linerlytica’s charter index increased 5% last week with the larger sizes getting the biggest boost as supply was limited.

“Maersk and CMA CGM have been particularly active in recent weeks, along with smaller carriers such as SeaLead and Tailwind that have been keen to secure additional tonnage for their Med routes,” said the analyst.

Meanwhile, London-based shipbroker Braemar reported a 46% increase in its container charter market index, Boxi, since mid-December when the Houthis first began missile attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb and Gulf of Aden.

According to Braemar, carriers have scrambled to deploy tonnage on diverted Asia to Europe services that have been diverted around the African Cape.

Diversions around the Cape require an extra two to three ships forcing lines to vacuum up tonnage to maintain weekly schedules.

As a result, the broker had forecast charter rates to fall to a 70-point low and to average around 80 points in 2024. But as the Red Sea crisis hit the Asia to Europe trade the index did a U-turn recording a steep increase in January from 90 points to around 130 today and still rising.

Braemar commented, “Geopolitics have ambushed our time charter estimates for 2024 and we have had to have a rethink. Instead of an average of 80 points and a low point of 70 points in 2024, the upwardly revised forecast is for an average of 130 / 135 points with a high point of 145 / 150 points.”

Meanwhile, Alphaliner reported that owners and charterers are engaged in a struggle, with owners seeking to close contracts with extended periods, but cautious carriers wary of the volatile nature of the current market conditions and, therefore, looking for shorter deals.

Alphaliner believes the larger vessel market is largely spent now, with no new fixtures in the 7,000-13,000 TEU range, leading to a rapid rise in the medium sized range of 4,000-5,000 TEUs, now stabilising which means that attention has now turned to the smaller vessels.

“In the smaller sizes, the fixing activity was frantic in the past fortnight, especially between 1,000 TEUs and 1,900 TEUs with around thirty fixtures concluded. Fast-expanding SeaLead was one of the busiest market players, fixing seven vessels of 1,700-1,800 TEUs, including several modern ‘Bangkokmax’ units,” said Alphaliner.

Braemar puts this fixture surge into dollars, with its original estimates for this year for an 1,700 TEU ECO-Bangkokmax at US$9,000—US$10,000/day, now revised upwards to US$14,000 to US$15,000/day.

Braemar said the Israel - Hamas conflict is continuing and therefore the Houthi attacks will continue, as seen this week with devastating effects on the crew of the True Confidence.

“We are not political commentators but the chances of the Red Sea avoidance situation remaining, perhaps for the whole of 2024 could be a possibility. With this in mind liner companies will be planning well into the future to minimise service disruption.”

As a result, Braemar has revised its estimates on vessel oversupply for 2024 from the expected 19% to 10%, “effectively halving oversupply in 2024”.

Emirates Shipping Line strengthens its Far East/Middle East service network


Emirates Shipping Line (ESL) has announced the introduction of its new COSMOS (CMX) service and the enhancement of its existing GALEX (GLX) service aiming to optimize transit times and increase frequency between the Far East and the Middle East.

The port rotations of ESL's services will be as follows:

COSMOS: Shanghai (China) – Ningbo (China) – Da Chan Bay (China) – Jebel Ali (UAE) – Sohar (Oman) – Port Klang (Malaysia) – Shanghai (China)

GALEX: Busan (South Korea) – Qingdao (China) – Xiamen (China) – Nansha (China) – Da Chan Bay (China) – Port Klang (Malaysia) – Jebel Ali (UAE) – Dammam (Saudi Arabia) – Khor Fakkan (UAE) – Busan (South Korea)

ESL said these services, combined, significantly reduce transit times from East Asia to the Middle East and enhance overall service frequency.

With the addition of the CMX service, the company now offers nine services via Jebel Ali, providing access to key ports in the Indian Subcontinent and Africa. The CMX service marks the carrier's second service from Central China and third from South China to the Middle East.

Furthermore, the revamped rotation of GLX service benefits customers in the Upper Gulf, Red Sea, and Africa, ensuring reduced transit times to major ports in Asia via Jebel Ali, according to ESL's statement.

Red Sea crisis milder than Covid-19, challenges to be seen in 2025


The impact of the Red Sea crisis is less severe than Covid-19, although the TEU-mile boost has been significant.

Clarksons’ latest Container Intelligence Monthly stated that compared with December 2023, TEU-miles have gone up by around 11%, as around 620 ships of 8.5 million TEUs are rerouting from the Suez Canal to the Cape of Good Hope to avoid attacks from Houthi rebels.

Contextualised against Covid-19, where surging e-commerce sales and heightened inspections caused logistical bottlenecks worldwide, Clarksons said that the Red Sea effect has been milder.

The Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI) hit 5,110 points in January 2022, but currently, the index has been hovering around 2,200 points.

Clarksons said, “Indeed, while shipper costs have increased significantly amid current disruption, they remain well below those during the pandemic.”

The world’s largest shipbroker illustrated that the cost of shipping a pair of shoes from Asia to Europe went up by 21 US cents in early December 2023 to 78 US cents in mid-January 2024, but remains below the January peak of US$1.95.

Clarksons continued, “So, while major Red Sea disruption is not currently yielding container market impacts as severe as those seen during Covid-19 disruption, effects are still material with a significant TEU-mile demand ‘boost’. Uncertainty remains around the duration of disruption, and how long current strong market conditions will last; it is clearly important to keep an eye on (difficult) ‘underlying’ supply-demand fundamentals but for now the events in the Red Sea remain top of the agenda.”

Amid increased demand, tonnage supply has been increasingly absorbed and this has been compounded by a range of other supply impacts; for example, schedules faced delays and cancelled sailings as rerouting meant port calls were late or missed entirely, while inefficiencies were created by the need to reposition vessels and adjust ‘hub-and-spoke’ services. Elsewhere, capacity on some routes, such as the Far East-Middle East lane, have been impacted by the diversion of Far East-Europe services that would have previously called at Middle Eastern ports, while disruption has also caused a shortage of containers in some regions.

However, once the crisis is resolved, 2025 is expected to become a challenging year for container shipping, with more than 2 million TEU of newbuilding deliveries that year, amounting to fleet growth of 5%.

Clarksons cautioned, “Capacity management is likely to be difficult, given the scale of cumulative supply growth (end-2025 fleet set to be more than 20% bigger than start 2023). A reasonably 'solid' year for container trade volume growth is projected though, at 3%, and further reductions in vessel speeds could mitigate some of the supply pressure (efforts to cut emissions and green policies continuing to support), helping markets to potentially reach a 'floor' as macroeconomic headwinds ease.”