Global shipping companies avoid Suez Canal

Several global shipping lines plan to steer clear of the Suez Canal, while the escalating situation in the Red Sea, coupled with attacks on cargo ships, has heightened concerns in the global shipping industry.

Five big shipping companies have now stopped their ships using the Red Sea in the wake of attacks mounted by Houthis in protest at Israel’s efforts to eliminate Hamas in Gaza.

The chair of the Suez Canal Authority, Lt Osama Rabie, has advised that 55 ships have been redirected around the Cape of Good Hope, a two-week longer journey than that through the Bab al-Mandab Strait south of the Suez Canal. More than 20 ships have reported incidents in the past months, many around the narrow Bob al-Mandap that separates the Arabian peninsular from Africa.

The Hong Kong based OOCL shipline was the latest to announce a suspension, joining French CMA CGM,  Danish Maersk, German Hapag Lloyd and the Italian-Swiss owned MSC (now the worlds largest line).

As a response the US is establishing a multinational maritime task force – Operation Prosperity Guardian – to address attacks from Houthis in Yemen on commercial ships and other targets as the conflict in the Middle East widens and risks upending global trade, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III announced today.

It is widely believed that the Red Sea situation will have much greater impact on the global shipping industry than the Suez Canal obstruction in March 2021 when the Ever Given container ship run aground blocking the channel. 

There has been no comment to date made from any ship line as to surcharge implementation.