Weekly Red Sea Round Up

Weekly Red Sea Roundup

There is a lot of news around the Red Sea crisis, but you don’t want to miss Windward’s unique,  AI-driven insights. We have concentrated some of our best pattern and trend findings, data, and predictions in one place for your convenience. 

Trade routes, freight rates, deceptive shipping practices, areas to watch, and more have changed since this crisis started. We are pleased to help you stay ahead with our Maritime AI™ insights in our role as trusted maritime and supply chain advisor. 

Domino Effect Continues with BHP

Mining giant BHP Group started diverting shipments from Asia to Europe away from the Red Sea, according to The Wall Street Journal, instead choosing to circle the Cape of Good Hope. 

As expected, Maersk previously deciding not to have U.S.-flagged vessels pass through the Red Sea (along with some major energy companies) helped create a domino effect. Windward Co-Founder and CEO Ami Daniel predicted, “You should expect more market leaders to do the same and effectively see traffic in the Suez Canal Authority drop 70-80% versus October 6.” 

The New Hideout Flag?

Using Maritime AI™, during the last 30 days we have seen 50(!) vessels re-flag from Panama and Liberia, to Gabon. Many of them already have a history of deceptive shipping practices. This is compared to 0 vessels switching to the Gabon flag over the previous month.

It seems that Gabon is the new hideout flag for tankers under pressure from the Russian oil price cap. 

What is the Houthi connection? The Marlin Luanda vessel was recently hit by a Houthi missile off Aden, after taking Russian oil products via three ship-to-ship transfers off Greece. The Luanda flew the Marshall Islands flag, and the flags of Panama and Liberia are also under scrutiny from countries such as the U.S. 

Could this flag-switching confuse the already arbitrary Houthis into attacking illicit actors smuggling Russian oil?  

Important takeaways

  • Take a hard look at vessels which recently changed flags, it might be a high risk indicator
  • The Gabon flag should be carefully scrutinized, especially if the flag change didn’t happen at the same time as an ownership change
  • Know the market: higher risk vessels will be under more pressure to reduce prices

Related post: tankers full of Russian oil may be stuck in a South Korean port due to sanctions exposure. 15 Russian owned VLCC (+250 meters crude tankers) were seen within the EEZ of South Korea, most of which are located close to the port of Yeosu. Interestingly, 47% of these vessels are sailing under the flag of Gabon. Read the full post

Supply Chain Now and Windward Help Listeners Navigate the Red Sea Crisis 

Scott Luton, the Founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, sat down for an interesting discussion with Ami Daniel, Windward’s Co-Founder and CEO. They discussed Red Sea challenges, how AI can help mitigate the impact of this crisis and improve supply chain operations generally, plus leadership perspectives and tips. Check it out.  

U.S. and UK Strikes Fail to Slow Houthi Attacks 

BBC News analyzed the impact of the U.S and UK attacks, featuring Windward’s proprietary insights and data: 

“This map, based on data from the maritime AI company Windward, shows significantly higher traffic around Africa in January 2024 compared with the same period last year.” 

Container Shipping Routes Around Africa Increase in 2024 (2023 on the left, 2204 on the right)

Check out the full article

Disruptions Will Continue…

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