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A containership docking at the Port of Cape Town

Port of Cape Town. Stock Photo: Chris Troch/Shutterstock

Severe Weather Halts Container Shipping at Cape of Good Hope

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 0
July 10, 2024

Severe weather conditions near the Cape of Good Hope have brought container traffic to a halt this week, according to analysis by LSEG Shipping Research.

Container shipping around the Cape of Good Hope has surged this year as avoid Middle East chokepoints amid ongoing missile and drone attacks by the Iranian-backed Houthis in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea.

Since Monday, July 8, daily transit data and vessel location data via the LSEG Workspace Interactive Map have shown no containerships passing the Cape of Good Hope – adding to congestion and delays exacerbated by the Red Sea crisis. The Interactive Map layer highlights marine weather with waves over 10 meters high.

“We have a complete stop at the Cape of Good Hope for containerships – east and west,” said Fabrice Maille, Global Head of Shipping & Agriculture at LSEG. “There is no significant change in Red Sea traffic so far, but several containerships have made turnarounds and/or are waiting off the coast of Durban.”

Cargo Ship Evacuated as Waves Pound South African Coast

Isaac Hankes, Senior Weather Analyst at LSEG, noted that the waves off the South African coast coincided with a strong cyclone that impacted the region last Sunday, accompanied by temperatures well below normal.

“This was a powerful cyclone (with winds that generated the waves), but we are not seeing anything extraordinary in the data. Something comparable happened in early June, for example. These events are like a cold air outbreak in the South African winter, in the Northern Hemisphere context,” Hankes said.

Hankes noted that another cyclone is expected to impact South Africa later this week, potentially continuing shipping issues. However, the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) moving into its positive phase may signal the end of strong cyclones after this week, he said.

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