Scan Global Logistics (SGL) has said it expects a gradual increase in airfreight volume as shippers and agents scramble for alternatives to ocean freight instability in the Suez Canal and costly delays from container vessels diverted around South Africa on east-west voyages.
The Danish freight forwarded said although the interest in airfreight options hasn’t been dramatic, relative to the amount of vessels avoiding the Red Sea and risking potential Houthi rebel attacks, it foresees strengthening airfreight interest in 2024.
“While an uptick in volumes on the airfreight side has been visible, a tsunami-like volume surge has not been the case,” a company statement said.
“It is, though, expected that this will gradually increase, considering that the challenges in the Red Sea by now are considered longer lasting.”
This was also the view expressed Vincent Clerc, the CEO of Maersk, the 2nd biggest carrier of the liner trade by capacity.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Clerq said the upheaval in the Red Sea, which has been fuelling east-west tension in the Middle East ever since last year’s October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, could last longer than expected.
SGL said as the Lunar New Year and Chinese New Year approaches, it expects and uptick in airfreight inquiries.
Peter Sand, a chief analyst at ocean-air cargo benchmarking platform Xeneta, also said that tension in the Red Sea is most likely to get worse before it gets better.