Just one year after its announcement, Egypt's expanded Suez Canal is open for business. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi led the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by several Middle Eastern and European world leaders. The publicly-funded expansion cost about $8.5bn.
The latest issue of Drewry's Container Insight Weekly includes an analysis of how a Suez Canal closure would affect the container industry. Were social unrest in Egypt to disrupt shipping through the waterway, Drewry's concludes that there are enough vessels to move goods around Africa.
Airfreight rates slipped in December as the trade returned to business-as-usual following the volume boost of earlier new technology product launches, according to Drewry's new monthly report Sea + Air Shipper Insight.
Shipbuilding production levels have remained at record high levels, exceeding 50 million compensated gross tons (cgt) for two consecutive years (2010 -2011), with 2012 forecasted to remain close to 2011 levels, according to Drewry Maritime Research. However, the orderbook that forms the contracted forward workload has diminished rapidly and tails off to very low levels for 2014 and beyond.