With immediate effect: Shipping lines suspend sailings to Suez Canal

Following multiple attacks on container ships by Iranian-backed Houthis in waters off Yemen, shipping lines are pausing their fleets for naval escorts to materialise or diverting via the Cape of Good Hope, a voyage that adds 10 days and 700 miles to the normal transit.

MSC announced on Friday (15/12) that its vessels would not transit the Suez Canal eastbound and westbound "until the Red Sea passage is safe”, with Maersk and CMA CGM stating that all ships in the Red Sea area will pause their journey until further notice, with Hapag-Lloyd also pausing container ship traffic and due to make a decision on routing today at an emergency meeting.

ONE vessels are in holding patterns and HMM vessels were seen on Friday being diverted around Africa, while COSCO vessel, the COSCO Galaxy appeared to have stopped into a holding pattern in the Red Sea yesterday, despite the Chinese carrier not yet issuing any statements as to their position on the threat.

With over 10% of global trade and nearly a third of all containerised traffic moving through the Suez Canal, the decision to avoid it will have a profound impact on supply chains from Asia.

Diverted vessels will sail a further 700 nautical miles around Cape of Good Hope, burning a lot more fuel and adding around 10 days to their transit.

It’s too early to determine the impact this will have on international shipping, but it is worth noting that freight costs and insurance premiums are almost certain to rise and the shipping lines will pass on additional costs.

We have had very limited feedback from the shipping lines, but as we learn how individual vessels and routes are. Being affected we will advise customers accordingly.

Please be assured that we will continue to communicate proactively during this developing situation and will provide customers with updated ETA’s accordingly.

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