Hapag-Lloyd Sees Potential Return to Red Sea in Q2

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Friday March 15, 2024

Container line Hapag-Lloyd sees a potential return to Red Sea transits for its ships as soon as the end of the second quarter of 2024.

Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen discussed the Red Sea situation in an earnings call on Thursday.

The firm had announced in late December that it would be instructing its ships to avoid the Red Sea and Suez Canal until further notice.

"I think it's a quite binary situation; it is either safe for our people or it is not," he said on Thursday.

"As long as it is not safe, we will not send our people through the Red Sea and we will not send some of them through and some of them around Africa.

"I think that at some point, the situation will change again as quickly as it came, which means that at some point, it's safe again, and then everybody will go through again within a matter of weeks.

"The predictions go from it's going to change very fast, it's going to take some months or quarters, to it can take until the end of the year or it could go well into next year.

"I think the reality is nobody knows.

"We currently plan with a return to the Red Sea somewhere towards the end of Q2, beginning Q3."

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.