In November 2022, liner operators, primarily THE Alliance members, began detouring ships on the Asia-Europe route around the Cape of Good Hope, rather than the usual path through the Suez Canal.
Alphaliner had estimated that this move helped maintain the idle fleet at just 2% of the active fleet, as the longer route would mean the deployment of more ships to move cargo.
The diversion also saw the ships slow steaming at as low as 10 knots, absorbing two extra ships for every weekly loop.
According to Linerlytica, the last sailing to take the Cape route was that of the 19,870 TEU Al Zubara that departed from Rotterdam on 5 March after 10 consecutive sailings that skipped the Suez route.
The Cape routing already ended on the FE3 on 2 February after seven sailings and on FE4 on 24 January after seven sailings.
The return to the Suez route will reduce the overall transit time by one week and allow THE Alliance to return to regular sailings after the blanked sailing programs implemented on the 3 affected routes since January 2023.
Linerlytica analyst Tan Hua Joo told Container News, “The routing via the Cape was meant to be a temporary measure. It isn’t economically feasible to operate on this route as the transit time is much longer and does not justify the savings from the canal fees.”