Air cargo delays and ocean carriers announce Israel war risk surcharge

While sea freight traffic is largely operating without significant issues, the conflict in Israel is impacting airfreight to the country and the surrounding region, with many carriers’ services subject to cancellation and delay.

Many airlines have suspended direct flights to and from Israel, with many international aviation authorities avoiding the region’s airspace, and no bookings on the affected routes.

Israel represents a relatively small market for container shipping, and few vessels stop at its primary ports of Ashdod and Haifa, so the threat of disruption to container trade flow through the Mediterranean region remains limited.

Ashdod, one of the country’s largest ports, is continuing to operate normally 24/7, with employees working longer shifts, because the military has recruited 10% and the remaining staff must fill the gap.

While international airlines have temporarily suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv, the airport remains open, with domestic carriers still providing services and alternative cargo options, but these are very limited.

Etihad Airways is currently operating its daily flight schedule to and from Tel Aviv but they are monitoring the situation minute-by-minute. Turkish Airlines services from Istanbul to Tel Aviv appear to be operating normally and some integrators have resumed their flights.

No special measures or guidelines have been handed down to Israeli ports, which remain in contact with shipping companies and for now keep moving cargo and goods through the ports without any significant disruption.

Any expansion of hostilities beyond Israel’s borders could introduce risks to the Suez Canal, a critical waterway for container ships, however, the extent of these effects would depend on the conflict’s expansion and duration.

We have not seen any rate increases, surcharges or additional fees so far, but there are concerns about possible increased insurance costs, with national Israeli carrier ZIM and other major carriers now announcing a war risk surcharge (WRS) on Israel cargo ranging from US$50-100/teu.

If you have any concerns about the issues raised in this article, we can review your situation and explain your options, including alternative carriers, ports and routes, where appropriate.

Our aim is to consistently provide the most efficient and cost-effective solutions, to ensure that your supply chain remains optimised. EMAIL Andrew Smith, Metro’s Chief Commercial Officer.