Maersk, the Danish shipping giant, has announced its intention to resume shipping operations through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. This decision comes after the implementation of an international military operation aimed at preventing attacks on commercial vessels by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
Numerous companies had temporarily halted shipments via the Red Sea due to the heightened threat of attacks. German shipping firm Hapag-Lloyd is set to decide on Wednesday whether to follow suit and resume using this crucial route.
The Red Sea serves as a vital passage for oil, liquefied natural gas, and consumer goods, bordered by the Bab al-Mandab Strait in the south and the Suez Canal in the north. Recent attacks on vessels, attributed to Houthi rebels targeting ships heading for Israel, prompted concerns about disruptions in the supply chain and potential price increases due to the longer alternative route around the Cape of Good Hope.
To address these challenges, the U.S. initiated Operation Prosperity Guardian, an international naval operation aimed at safeguarding ships navigating the Red Sea. In response, Maersk expressed its readiness to allow vessels to resume transit through the Red Sea, both eastbound and westbound. The company emphasised the implementation of security measures; however, it acknowledged that the overall risk in the area has not been completely eliminated.
Maersk stated that it is actively working on plans for the first vessels to transit the Red Sea, aiming for the earliest operational feasibility. Despite these measures, the company emphasised its commitment to re-evaluate the situation and implement diversion plans if necessary for the safety of its seafarers.
Other major shipping companies, including Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), CMA CGM, and Hapag-Lloyd, have also avoided the Red Sea route due to the increased threat of attacks. Hapag-Lloyd is expected to reassess the situation on Wednesday before making further decisions on its shipping routes.