Cape of Good Hope route unsustainable as it lacks necessary services: Suez Canal chairman

Ahram Online , Wednesday 12 Jun 2024

Osama Rabie, the Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), has stressed that the Cape of Good Hope route, which many ships are currently using due to tensions in the Red Sea, is not sustainable and lacks the necessary support services.

 Osama Rabie
File Photo: Osama Rabie, chairman of Egypt s Suez Canal Authority (SCA), speaks during a press conference in the canal s central city of Ismailia. AFP


He emphasized that the Suez Canal remains the fastest and most direct route and saves between 9 days to two weeks for trips between Asia and Europe passing through the canal.

Rabie made his remarks during a meeting in Ismailia with Australian Ambassador to Cairo Axel Wabenhorst, where they discussed mechanisms for enhancing cooperation in areas of common interest. 

Wabenhorst underscored the Suez Canal's strategic importance to global maritime trade, describing it as the cornerstone of this critical industry.

He noted that the recent tensions in the Bab al-Mandab region have significantly disrupted trade between Asia and Europe, leading to increased burdens and transportation costs due to longer voyage times and delayed cargo arrivals.

The recurring Houthi attacks on Israel-linked vessels near the strategic Bab Al-Mandeb Strait drive the Red Sea tensions.

The group, which controls much of Yemen but is not recognized internationally, says the attacks are meant to pressure Israel to end its deadly war on the Gaza Strip.

The tensions in the Red Sea have led several shipping companies to divert their ships from the Suez Canal, where 12 percent of global trade used to cross, to the much-longer Cape of Good Hope.

The annual revenue of the Suez Canal declined by more than 50 percent due to the Red Sea conflict, government officials said in March.

However, the Egyptian canal is expected to bring in high revenues of $9 billion during the upcoming fiscal year 2024/25 despite the major blow dealt over the past months due to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.

This target is close to the canal’s record-breaking revenue of $9.4 billion in FY2022/23 before the Israeli war in Gaza, which started on 7 October and triggered the ongoing Houthi assaults.

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