Suez and Panama jams could be perfect storm for fast fashion says delivery specialist

Suez and Panama jams could be perfect storm for fast fashion says delivery specialist

Fast fashion retailers could see containership deliveries from Asia to the UK facing severe delays and spiralling costs due to troubles affecting both the Suez and Panama canals, a report has warned.

With access to the Suez Canal disrupted by Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping, plus spiralling costs and delays caused by the Panama Canal drought, “global supply chains are in crisis”, according to international delivery specialist ParcelHero.

That could have major implications for transitional product in late winter and the start of the spring season. Coming after a weak second half in 2023 it could present major problems for a number of retailers both large and small.

Major sectors facing major disruption as well as fashion include homewares: “From Next to Ikea, many well-known retailers have already sounded the alarm as the attacks continue and disruption increases”, the report said.

David Jinks, ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research and former Editor of Lloyds Shipping Index, said: “Already, we have a drought in Panama severely reducing both the number of ships and the amount they can carry using the Panama Canal. Now the most direct route between Asia and Europe, via the Suez Canal, is being severely disrupted. Losing unrestricted access to these two vital trade routes will mean spiralling costs and lengthy delays.”

He noted a third of all the world’s container ships use the Suez Canal/Red Sea route, many carrying thousands of products made in Asia for the UK and mainland Europe with fashion products named among those most affected.

The world’s big three shipping lines, MSC, Maersk and CMA CGM, announced they were pausing Suez Canal transits at the onset of the attacks, with many ships re-routing via the Cape of Good Hope rather than risk being fired upon.

“Consequently, Asian-manufactured goods heading for the UK have been delayed and costs have increased significantly,” the report added.

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