Shipping giant Maersk said on Wednesday that after avoiding the Red Sea and Suez Canal for about a week due to attacks on ships, it was directing its ships to the canal again.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia attacked ships in the Red Sea, claiming it was in retaliation for Israeli military actions against Hamas in Gaza. A US-led naval force was assembled to defend the ships in the Red Sea and the warships already there prevented attacks on the ships.
HAS shipping advice What Maersk released Wednesday showed several of its ships were heading toward the Suez Canal, which handles about 12 percent of global trade.
“We continue to prepare our vessels for passage through the Red Sea, and any deviation from this decision will be considered on a case-by-case basis,” Maersk said in a statement.
The attacks near the Suez Canal have disrupted global shipping at a time when fewer ships can pass through the Panama Canal due to drought. After the Houthi attacks, shipping rates soared and shipping companies, seeking to avoid the Red Sea, diverted their ships around the Cape of Good Hope, increasing costs and creating delays.
Hapag-Lloyd, a major German shipping company, was still avoiding the Red Sea, its spokesman said Wednesday. MSC, a shipping company based in Switzerland, said one of its ships was attacked on Tuesday but no injuries were reported.
“Our first priority remains to protect the lives and safety of our seafarers, and until their safety can be ensured, MSC will continue to reroute vessels booked for transit from Suez via the Cape of Good Hope,” he said. the company said. said in a press release.
Many carriers, including Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Maersk, had been rerouting their ships around Africa, imposing container surcharges on some shipments to cover the extra costs.
Shipping Tracking Websites show many ships now crossing the Red Sea, including oil tankers.
More than 400 cargo ships have been sent on the 6,000-nautical-mile detour, effectively reducing trade capacity between Asia and Europe by 25 percent, UBS analysts said.
Brooks Barnes reports contributed.