The Suez Canal Authority might be forced to offer even greater rebates if it is not to lose more traffic with many boxships still opting to go via the Cape of Good Hope to soak up capacity and save costs.
The canal authority slashed rates on May 1 in reaction to a swathe of carriers – led by CMA CGM – avoiding the waterway.
Alphaliner reports the Cape route remains popular. As of May 26, a total of 15 ships that departed from Europe and North America in May are still using the Cape route, even though they would have been eligible for the Suez toll discounts. This has brought the total number of container ships using the Cape route to 32 since March this year, according to Alphaliner data.
On the Asia-Europe tradelane, the Cape route is more than 3,000 nautical miles longer than via the three-week Suez Canal route.
The Cape routing is not unprecedented. When oil prices dropped to very low levels in late 2015, in early 2016 many vessels from the US east coast to Asia did the same until the Suez Canal made a large discount.
More #ULCV's are taking longer route from #Asia to #Europe and vice versa, as seen in this heat map we created of ULCV journeys over last 30 days.
Drop in #oilprices means giant #container ships choosing to round the Cape, rather than through Suez where tolls can be expensive. pic.twitter.com/EJ8vHkL0Jo
— MarineTraffic (@MarineTraffic) April 24, 2020