55 ships divert to Cape of Good Hope and 2,128 cross Suez Canal since 19 Nov: SCA

Ahram Online , Sunday 17 Dec 2023

Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie stated on Sunday that 55 ships diverted from the Suez Canal route to the Cape of Good Hope route since 19 November, considering it a small percentage compared to the crossing of 2,128 ships during the same period.

A ship crossing the Suez Canal in the Red Sea, Photo: Suez Canal Authority


Rabie stressed that the navigation traffic in the Suez Canal is normal, adding that the SCA is closely following the ongoing tensions in the Red Sea and its consequences on the navigation traffic in the canal, according to an official statement by the SCA.

His statements came following the announcement of some shipping companies to temporarily divert their ships from the Bab Al-Mandeb strait, which leads to the Suez Canal, to the Cape of Good Hope route around Africa.

Rabie added that 77 ships loaded with 4 million tons crossed the Suez Canal route on Sunday, including ships of Maersk Saigon, CMA CGM Christophe Colomb, and MSC Fabienne, which belong to the shipping companies that previously announced the temporary diversion of their ships to the Cape of Good Hope route.

The SCA chairman stressed that the Suez Canal will remain the fastest and shortest route for the ships, noting that savings rates for ships crossing the Suez Canal between Asia and Europe range from nine days to two weeks, according to the ports of departure and arrival.

Early this week, major shipping companies, German Hapag-Lloyd, Danish Maersk, French CMA CGM, and Italian-Swiss MSC, announced they were suspending passage through Bab Al-Mandeb strait in the Red Sea in response to the Iran-backed Houthi rebels' attacks.

The Houthis, who control much of Yemen but are not recognized internationally, said Tuesday they were targeting Israeli ships near the strategic Bab Al-Mandeb strait to pressure Israel over its deadly war on the Gaza Strip.

MSC, one of the world's largest freight shipping lines, said one of its container vessels had been targeted in the Red Sea on Friday, and it was halting traffic through the strait until it was safe, while CMA CGM ordered on Saturday all its vessels to leave the area and stay there until further notice.

Forty percent of the world's international trade transits through the Bab Al-Mandeb strait, which runs between Yemen, on the southwestern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, and the African continent.

As a result of the Houthi attacks on Israeli shipping and vessels headed towards Israel through the Bab Al-Mandeb strait, Israel's National Security Council issued an “urgent instruction” on 12 December, directing Israeli ports to eliminate details regarding the arrivals and departures of ships from their online platforms, according to Globes newspaper.

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