Maritime Global Trade Roundup – March 29, 2024

The Evolving Trade Trend in the Caspian Sea Making Waves

What’s inside?

    Here are the quick highlights and analysis you need from the week in maritime global trade, powered by Maritime AI™ insights.

    The Aftermath of the Tragedy in Baltimore

    Tragedy struck when a massive container ship, a Singaporean-flagged container vessel named Dali, lost power and demolished a Baltimore bridge. Six people are presumed dead in the accident. 

    The accident has fueled major supply chain concerns, especially in the wake of the Panama Canal drought and ongoing Red Sea disruptions: the bridge spanned the entrance to the Port of Baltimore, the busiest U.S. port for car exports and the ninth-busiest for foreign cargo, according to the BBC. It is also the second biggest port for U.S. coal exports.

    Speaking to the AP, Windward Co-Founder and CEO, Ami Daniel, noted other potential supply chain problems. In the Baltimore area, “if you’re in the construction business and you haven’t piled up enough steel because of (high) interest rates, then there’s a good chance you’re going to run out of steel…if you’re in the shipbuilding or construction business, it can slow down your project.” 

    There has been a 50% increase in destination updates for vessels expected to arrive in Baltimore. Some of the new destinations include the ports of Norfolk and Savannah, and some might decide to skip the U.S. entirely (very few will employ this strategy).


    Windward’s Maritime AI™ platform shows a 200% increase in ETA updates for vessels expected in Baltimore between March 25-26. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of ETA changes were still for March, while 38% already updated their ETA to April, and 4% updated their ETA to May.

    For more AI insights and advice on how to keep moving forward as an organization following this tragedy, check out our recent blog post.  

    Four Disruptive Events for 2024-2025

    Some conspiracy theorists have rushed to call the Baltimore bridge collapse a “black swan event” orchestrated to divert attention from other current events. 

    The truth is that the global supply chain already faces disruptive black swan events in the traditional sense of the phrase – unforeseen events that cause huge ripple events affecting wide swaths of the population. 

    The Red Sea crisis and Panama Canal drought are already making waves, while two more potential events threaten to further shake the global supply chain’s foundations. Do you want to look at these existing challenges and anticipate additional scenarios that could affect the logistics landscape? 

    Our sponsored article in Business Reporter has the details…

    Vessel Sanctioned This Week Has Long Been on Windward’s Radar… 

    This week the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned six entities, one individual, and two tankers that are based or registered in Liberia, India, Vietnam, Lebanon, and Kuwait that have engaged in facilitating commodity shipments and financial transactions for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the Houthis, and Hezbollah. 

    OFAC’s press release describes one of the sanctioned tankers: “the Palau-flagged Abyss (IMO: 9157765) to ship Iranian commodities to the PRC. Like the Dawn II, the Abyss utilized forged shipping documents to disguise the Iranian origin of its cargo. The Abyss is owned by Vietnam-based Quoc Viet Marine Transport JSC and operated by India-based Melody Shipmanagement Pvt Ltd.”

    The Abyss has been identified as a high-risk vessel in our platform since May 2021. It was flagged for risk indicators, such as dark activities and location (GNSS) manipulation, in relation to the Iranian regime. Windward possesses the industry’s best location manipulation coverage in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region and this vessel being sanctioned shows the power of predictive analytics, as we flagged it almost a year ago.  

    The Effects of Increased Panama Canal Passage on the Supply Chain

    The Panama Canal crisis is a stark reminder of the interplay between nature, global trade, and technology. Here are the recent developments, their effect, and future projections to help you stay agile. 

    • The Panama Canal Authority recently announced that it would increase the daily slots available for passage for Panamax and Neopanamax vessels, due to Lake Gatun’s deepening. 
    • Windward’s Maritime AI™ platform shows an increase in the major subclasses of cargo vessels that passed through the canal during the past three weeks:
      • Container vessels have increased area visits in the Panama Canal by 18% on a weekly basis since March commenced.
      • Bulk carriers increased area visits in the Panama Canal by 25% on a weekly basis (between March 3-9 and March 10-16).
      • General cargo vessels increased area visits in the Panama Canal by 18% on a weekly basis (same weeks as above).
    Area visits in the Panama Canal by container vessels, general cargo, and bulk carriers: December 31, 2023-March 23, 2024. Source: Windward.

    Supply Chain Impact 

    • Windward’s Maritime AI™ Predictive ETA shows the average delay in the arrival of shipments from Chinese ports to the port of Houston in February was 14 days

    In March, the delays dropped to an average of one day, with more shipments showing early arrival of two-three days. That could mean that more vessels are able to pass through the canal and ship containers at the port of Houston faster, due to improved conditions.

    • The delays in shipments may further decrease in the coming weeks, as more vessels will be able to pass through the Panama Canal. By using Windward’s Maritime AI™ platform, as well as our Ocean Freight Visibility solution, it is possible to see the change in conditions of shipping in the area, receive the most accurate ETA predictions,  and obtain insights on how climate changes impact the global supply chain and logistics.

    While we cannot control the weather, we can be as ready as possible to adapt to its effects. With the right advanced planning, cooperation, and technology, this crisis should remain manageable for the various stakeholders.

    Behavioral Changes in the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait Caused by the Red Sea Crisis

    • Open sources recently stated that Somali pirate attacks have been increasing, in addition to the Houthi rebels’ attacks against merchant vessels. 
    • Somali pirate attacks have increased since November 2023, after several years of dormancy, due to the need to bypass the Red Sea via The Cape of Good Hope.
      • One of the most recent cases was the attack against the Ruen (IMO: 9754903). Such attacks caused an increase in the insurance price for vessels sailing in the area. 
    • Windward’s Maritime AI™ insights show an increase in the number of behavioral anomalies in the Horn of Africa region (which is regarded as a possible war risk zone).
      • There has been a 600% increase in the number of course deviations in the Somali EEZ by cargo vessels and tankers between the end of October 2023 and the fourth week of March 2024.

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