Maersk to extend Red Sea diversion for ‘foreseeable future’

Maersk to extend Red Sea diversion for ‘foreseeable future’

Maersk to extend Red Sea diversion for ‘foreseeable future’

The Maersk Sentosa container ship sails southbound to exit the Suez Canal in Suez, Egypt, on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023.

Stringer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Danish shipping giant Maersk said Friday it would extend its diversion of vessels from the Red Sea for the “foreseeable future” due to safety concerns amid a spate of attacks by Houthi militants.

It means avoiding the Suez Canal on Europe-Asia routes and taking the longer Cape of Good Hope route around southern Africa.

“The situation is constantly evolving and remains highly volatile, and all available intelligence at hand confirms that the security risk continues to be at a significantly elevated level,” Maersk said in a statement.

It added that it hoped to bring customers “more consistency and predictability” by suspending Red Sea travel, despite delays to deliveries.

Several European firms, including Sweden’s Ikea, British retailer Next and appliance firm Electrolux, have warned of delays on some products due to supply chain disruption.

Maersk had resumed travel through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden after a December pause, but halted it again on Tuesday after one of its vessels was attacked.

German shipping firm Hapag-Lloyd has also said it will continue to divert vessels away from the Red Sea amid Houthi attacks.

“What we can say for the moment [is] we don’t see the passage through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal as safe,” Nils Haupt, head of corporate communications at Hapag-Lloyd, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Friday.

“We had an attack in December, you can’t imagine how hard that was, not only for us as a company but especially for our crew. There were several attacks in the last days and as long as the passage through the Red Sea and Suez Canal is not safe, we won’t pass,” he added.

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