The number of containerships that have opted to use the Cape Route and by-pass the Suez Canal has risen to a historic peace-time high
Since the end of March, at least 32 sailings used the longer route via the Cape of Good Hope. Rather unusually, even three westbound Asia – Europe headhaul sailings have opted for the Cape Route.
Carriers very rarely choose this longer route for the transittime sensitive headhaul, but the current low bunker price and lack of demand in European markets, hit by the COVID-19 lockdowns, have suddenly made such movements viable.
Despite the longer distance via the Cape of Good Hope the cheaper bunker fuel prices makes it more economical to take this route compared to using the Suez Canal that could cost around $700,000 for a fully laden 20,000 TEU container ship.
These diversion will cost the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) over $10M in lost charges. SCA reacted to this major loss of traffic by announcing a new rebate scheme to incite containerships to transit through the Suez Canal again.
However also the revised toll rebate as of 1 May has, so far, failed to discourage carriers from re-routing vessels to avoid Suez Canal transits in favor of the longer journey via the Cape of Good Hope.
Source: DHL, Alphaliner
See the full presentation deck from DHL HERE