Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd, Japan’s 2 largest shipping firms to keep avoiding Red Sea

The Hapag-Lloyd container ship 'Chacabuco' from Monrovia is docked in Hamburg, Germany, March 31, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
The Hapag-Lloyd container ship 'Chacabuco' from Monrovia is docked in Hamburg, Germany, March 31, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

BERLIN — Hapag-Lloyd will continue to divert its vessels around the Suez Canal for security reasons, a spokesperson for the German container shipper says today, adding a further assessment will be made on January 2.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Nippon Yusen, Japan’s largest shipping companies, also say their vessels with links to Israel are avoiding the Red Sea area. Both companies say they are monitoring the situation. Shipping giants including Hapag-Lloyd and Denmark’s Maersk earlier this month stopped using Red Sea routes and the Suez Canal after Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebel group began targeting vessels, disrupting global trade, amid the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Instead, they rerouted ships around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope to avoid attacks, charging customers extra fees and adding days or weeks to the time it takes to transport goods from Asia to Europe and to the east coast of North America.

The situation remains uncertain. Maersk is planning to sail almost all container vessels traveling between Asia and Europe through the Suez Canal from now on while diverting only a handful around Africa, a Reuters breakdown of the group’s schedule showed yesterday.

France’s CMA CGM is also increasing the number of vessels it has travelling through the Suez Canal, it said on Tuesday.

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