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Shipping firms avoid Red Sea as Houthi attacks increase

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Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen have stepped up attacks on vessels in the Red Sea to show their support for Palestinian Islamist group Hamas fighting Israel in Gaza, according to Reuters.

The attacks, targeting a route that allows East-West trade, especially of oil, to use the Suez Canal to save the time and expense of circumnavigating Africa, have pushed some shipping companies to reroute vessels.

Maritime authorities and shipping ministries, including those of Norway and Greece, also warned against sailing in the area.

Below are companies (in alphabetical order) that have decided to pause shipping via the Red Sea:

C.H. ROBINSON

The global logistics group said on December 22 that it had rerouted more than 25 vessels around the Cape of Good Hope over the past week, and that number would likely continue to grow.

“Blank sailings and rate increases are expected to continue across many trades into Q1 of 2024,” it added.

CMA CGM

The French shipping group has rerouted several vessels via the Cape of Good Hope, while instructing other ships that were scheduled to pass through the Red Sea to reach safe areas and pause their journey until further notice. The group said on December 21 it would impose surcharges on shipments due to longer routes.

EURONAV

The Belgian oil tanker firm said on December 18 it would avoid the Red Sea area until further notice.

EVERGREEN

The Taiwanese container shipping line said on December 18 its vessels on regional services to Red Sea ports would sail to safe waters nearby and wait for further notification, while ships scheduled to pass through the Red Sea would be rerouted around the Cape of Good Hope. It also temporarily stopped accepting Israeli cargo.

FRONTLINE

The Norway-based oil tanker group said on December 18 that its vessels would avoid passages through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

GRAM CAR CARRIERS

The Norwegian shipping company, which specialises in pure car truck carriers, said on December 21 its vessels were restricted from passing through the Red Sea.

HAPAG-LLOYD

The German container shipping line said on December 21 it would reroute 25 ships by the end of the year to avoid the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, adding it would take further decisions at the end of the year.

A projectile believed to be a drone on December 15 struck its vessel sailing close to the coast of Yemen. No crew were injured.

HMM

The South Korean container shipper said on December 19 it had from December 15 ordered its ships from Europe that would normally use the Suez Canal to reroute via the Cape of Good Hope for an indefinite period of time.

HOEGH AUTOLINERS

The Norwegian shipping company said on December 20 it would stop Red Sea transit after the Norwegian Maritime Authority raised its alert for the southern part of the sea to the highest level.

MAERSK

The Danish shipping group paused all shipments through the Red Sea until further notice, following a “near-miss incident” involving its ship. On December 19, Maersk said it would reroute its vessels around the Cape of Good Hope. It will also impose extra charges on container transport on affected routes.

MSC

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) said on December 16 its ships would not transit through the Suez Canal, with some already rerouted via the Cape of Good Hope, a day after two ballistic missiles were fired at its vessel.

OCEAN NETWORK EXPRESS

Ocean Network Express (ONE), a joint venture of Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Nippon Yusen and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, said on December 19 it would reroute vessels away from the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. Instead, its ships will navigate around the Cape of Good Hope or temporarily pause their journey and move to safe areas.

OOCL

The Hong Kong-headquartered container group said on December 21 it had guided its vessels to either divert route or suspend sailing to the Red Sea. The company, owned by Orient Overseas (International) Ltd, has also stopped cargo acceptance to and from Israel until further notice.

WALLENIUS WILHELMSEN

The Norwegian shipping group said on December 19 it would halt Red Sea transits until further notice. Rerouting vessels via the Cape of Good Hope will add 1-2 weeks to voyage durations, it said.

YANG MING MARINE TRANSPORT

The Taiwanese container shipping company said on December 18 it would divert ships sailing through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden via the Cape of Good Hope for the next two weeks.