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19 Jan, 2024 06:20

Shipping giant warns of global transport disruptions

Maersk has put customers on notice that risks in the Red Sea may persist for months     
Shipping giant warns of global transport disruptions

Danish shipping major AP Moller-Maersk has warned of significant disruptions to the global shipping network due to the elevated risk of attacks in the Red Sea.  

“While we hope for a sustainable resolution in the near-future and do all we can to contribute towards it, we do encourage customers to prepare for complications in the area to persist and for there to be significant disruption to the global network,” the company said in a notice sent to customers on Thursday.  

Maersk also offered customers the option of shifting some cargo from vessels to air freight at ports in Oman and the United Arab Emirates to fly goods to final destinations in Europe or the US.  

Container freight rates for key global trade routes have surged after the US and UK launched airstrikes on targets in Yemen last week with the stated goal of protecting maritime commerce in the Red Sea and the Bab-el-Mandeb straits, the world’s busiest routes. 

Shipping giants such as Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd have started sending hundreds of their vessels on longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa’s Cape of Good Hope after Houthi rebels instituted a de facto blockade through the Red Sea to the Suez Canal.  

Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc said on Wednesday that the disruption to global shipping caused by the attacks in the Red Sea will probably last at least a few months.  

“So for us this will mean longer transit times and probably disruptions of the supply chain for a few months at least, hopefully shorter, but it could also be longer because it’s so unpredictable how this situation is actually developing,” Clerc told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.  

World trade plunged by 1.3% from November to December 2023 as a result of Houthi attacks on merchant vessels in the Red Sea, according to the latest report by the Kiel institute.

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