Survey reveals extent of Red Sea modal shift

Date Added: 5 February 2024

Survey reveals extent of Red Sea modal shift

With no sign of the crisis in the Red Sea abating, a recent survey by Ti Insight caught Davies Turner's attention as it revealed the extent to which global shippers are taking steps to avoid delays involved in re-routing ships around the Cape of Good Hope.

 Almost two thirds of shippers taking part in the survey said that they had switched a proportion of their shipments away from sea freight services.

Of the various modal shift options available, the switch from sea to air was the most common choice (17.2%). Air cargo is the obvious choice for urgent shipments and this, combined with the Chinese New Year, is pushing up rates for the first time in months.

Delays, shortage of shipping capacity and increasing sea freight rates are making air (and sea-air hybrid combinations) more attractive.

The use of rail, either on its own or as part of a sea-rail hybrid solution, has also soared, and we have seen a significant increase in bookings on our Direct Express China Rail service to the UK, since the start of the crisis.

Ti added that the shift towards multimodal solutions (air/sea combination and sea/land combination) was also significant – almost 20% in aggregate. This is due to the cost and time advantages of using a combination of air/sea and sea/land compared to a full shift to air.

Dubai-Europe is a particularly popular sea-air lane, with rate platform Xeneta asserting that it was seeing double digit growth in the early part of 2024, a period which is traditionally weak.

For more information about Davies Turner’s ocean freight forwarding and logistics services, please contact or visit the relevant pages of this website.

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