Maersk Foresees No Imminent Return to Red Sea Transits

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Tuesday March 26, 2024

Global container shipping and logistics firm AP Moller-Maersk is not expecting to resume Red Sea transits any time soon, despite improving prospects for maritime security in the area.

The company issued a customer advisory on Friday setting out its current thinking on the maritime security situation around Yemen.

The firm noted the European Union's security operation Aspides, as well as the US-backed operation Prosperity Guardian, as positive developments that may eventually enable safe transits through the area, but said it would not rush into a decision to return.

"At Maersk, we are aware that some other shipping lines have continued sailing through the Red Sea despite security risks or have announced their plans to resume sailing," the company said in the note.

"We respect the right of each carrier to make such decisions individually.

"At the same time, we continue with our own assessment that current situation does not allow us to make a similar decision and with thus still believe that sailing via the Cape of Good Hope and around Africa is the most reasonable solution at the moment and the one that currently allows the best supply chain stability.

"Network changes are complex and take time to implement and we believe we should only implement such changes when they can be sustained over a longer period of time.

"We continue to believe it is the only way to avoid further disruption under the current circumstances."

Maersk had halted all Red Sea voyages indefinitely at the start of January, after a brief attempt to resume them over the Christmas and New Year holidays resulted in further attacks.

Commercial ships operating near Yemen have been coming under attack from the country's Houthi movement over the past four months in a response to the conflict in Gaza.

Several leading shipping companies are now avoiding the region altogether, taking longer routes around Africa rather than using the Suez Canal. This is likely to deliver a significant boost to bunker demand and freight markets while the current situation continues.

"We remain hopeful that resuming sailing through the Red Sea will become possible in the near future and we are committed to providing our customers with regular updates on the developments," Maersk said in the note on Friday.