Since November 19, ship attacks have become increasingly frequent in the southern Red Sea, a compulsory passage zone to reach the Suez Canal. While there has already been talk of shipping lines introducing a war tax as of January 1, 2024, a number of shipowners are also taking steps to bypass the zone, a measure that will have a greater impact on the entire supply chain, with immediate effect.
Many of the world's shipowners have been affected by these attacks, including Maersk, CMA-CGM, MSC and Hapag-Lloyd. In view of the danger posed by these attacks, particularly for the ship's crew but also for the goods in transit, these same companies have announced, with immediate effect, that their ships will be bypassing the Red Sea area, and in particular the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, in favor of the Cape of Good Hope, to the south of Africa.
This more secure route, however, increases transit times by around 40%, as well as shipping costs, due in particular to the extra fuel required to use the Cape of Good Hope route. Delays are to be expected throughout the supply chain, as are likely disruptions to equipment capacity and availability. The routes affected by this bypass are mainly for Europe/Asia/Indian Ocean/Oceania shipments.
Current shipments in the area of tension are also interrupted until safer waters can be reached.
FOR HOW LONG?
The Houthi rebels claiming responsibility for these attacks, backed by Iranian and Yemeni forces, are committed to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in favor of Palestine, and have confirmed their intention to continue attacking merchant ships as long as Israel continues its military operations in Gaza.
For the time being, the shipping companies' decision to bypass ships is open-ended and will depend on how the conflict develops.
Our teams remain at your disposal and will keep you informed of further changes in the situation.