Shipping Lines Avoiding Red Sea Routes

December 18, 2023
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Following an increase in attacks by Iranian backed Houthi militants in the area, shipping companies are advising of potential disruption to shipments that traditionally sail through the area.

Numerous major shipping lines including Evergreen, Maersk, and MSC have already announced service disruptions as vessels avoid the Suez Canal in favour of the safer route around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa.

It is believed these disruptions will potentially lead to an increase in shipping rates.

As this is a developing the story, the picture can rapidly develop in the coming days. All Powercargo customers are advised to act ahead to avoid potential delays ahead of the festive break.

The Red Sea route contains the Suez Canal, a vital gateway for international trade.

Below are major companies that have announced changes to shipping via the Red Sea, as according to Reuters:

BP Oil

Oil major BP on 18 December said it had temporarily paused all transits through the Red Sea.


French shipping group CMA CGM on 16 December said it was pausing all container shipments through the Red Sea.


Norwegian oil and gas firm Equinor on 18 December said it had re-routed some vessels that had been heading towards the Red Sea.


Belgian oil tanker firm Euronav said on 18 December it would avoid the Red Sea area until further notice.


Taiwanese container shipping line Evergreen said on 18 December its vessels on regional services to Red Sea ports would sail to safe waters nearby and wait for further notification, while ships scheduled to pass through the Red Sea would be re-routed around the Cape of Good Hope. It also temporarily stopped accepting Israeli cargo.


Norway-based oil tanker group Frontline said on 18 December that its vessels will avoid passages through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in thetime ahead, boosting the rates customers must pay for crude transport.


German container shipping line Hapag Lloyd said on 18 December it would re-route several ships via the Cape of Good Hope until the safety of passage through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea could be guaranteed.

A projectile believed to be a drone struck its vessel Al Jasrah on 15 December, while sailing close to the coast of Yemen. No crew were injured.


Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk on 15 December said it would pause all container shipments through the Red Sea until further notice, following a "near-miss incident" involving its vessel Maersk Gibraltar a day earlier.

The ship was targeted by a missile while travelling from Salalah, Oman, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the company said.


Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) said on 16 December its ships would not transit through the Suez Canal, with some already rerouted via the Cape of Good Hope, a day after Houthi forces fired two ballistic missiles at its MSC Palatium III vessel. The decision will disrupt sailing schedules by several days, the Switzerland-based group said.


Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) has stopped cargo acceptance to and from Israel until further notice, the shipping company owned by Hong Kong-based Oriental Overseas (International) Ltd (0316.HK) said on 16 December.

Yang Ming Marine Transport

Taiwan's Yang Ming Marine Transport said on 18 December it would divert ships sailing through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden via the Cape of Good Hope for the next two weeks.