Transiting through both the Panama and Suez Canals continues to bring logistics challenges, longer transit times, unreliable schedules and increased costs.
The Houthi attacks in the Red Sea are escalating despite US and allied-forces counterattacks. For the safety of their crews, ships and cargo, ocean carriers are avoiding the Suez Canal and choosing the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope.
Drought restrictions remain in effect at the Panama Canal. The restrictions limit the size of ships allowed to transit the canal as well as the number of crossings per day. Maersk has begun using the Panama Canal Railway to move containers between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
Then there are the stalled US East and Gulf Coast labor negotiations. The contract between the International Longshore Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) expires in September 2024. The two sides began meeting about a year ago in hopes of coming to terms prior to the expiration of the current contract. They could not agree on local or master issues with the ILA telling its members to “prepare for the possibility of a strike.” The parties are not actively negotiating at the moment.