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FACTBOX - Shipping firms react to Houthi attacks in the Red Sea

January 2, 2024 at 4:58 pm

Thousands of Houthi graduates who completed their military training, attend a military parade with their light and heavy weapons in Amran, Yemen on December 20, 2023 [Mohammed Hamoud – Anadolu Agency]

The Houthis in Yemen have stepped up attacks on vessels in the Red Sea to show their support for Palestinian group, Hamas, fighting Israel in Gaza, Reuters reports.

The attacks impact a route vital to East-West trade, especially of oil, as ships access the Suez Canal via the Red Sea.

In response, some shipping companies have instructed vessels to, instead, sail around southern Africa, a slower and, therefore, more expensive route.

Below are actions take by companies (in alphabetical order):

H. Robinson  

The global logistics group said on 22 December it had rerouted more than 25 vessels around the Cape of Good Hope over the past week, and that number would likely grow.

“Blank sailings and rate increases are expected to continue across many trades into Q1 of 2024,” it added.

READ: Iran deploys warship in Red Sea


The French shipping group is planning a gradual increase in the number of vessels transiting the Suez Canal, it said on 26 December. “This decision is based on an in-depth evaluation of the security landscape and our commitment to the security and safety of our seafarers,” CMA CGM said in a statement.

The company had previously rerouted several vessels via the Cape of Good Hope.


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


The Taiwanese container shipping line 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 rerouted around the Cape of Good Hope. It also temporarily stopped accepting Israeli cargo.


The Norway-based oil tanker group said, on 18 December, that its vessels would avoid the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Gram Car Carriers 

The Norwegian company, which specialises in transporting vehicles, said on 21 December its vessels were restricted from passing through the Red Sea.


The German container shipping line said, on 2 January, it had decided to continue to avoid the Red Sea, instead diverting vessels to the Cape of Good Hope, until at least 9 January when it would again assess the situation.

A projectile believed to be a drone struck one of its vessels sailing close to the coast of Yemen on 15 December. No crew were injured.

HMM 011200.KS

The South Korean container shipper said, on 19 December, it had ordered its ships, which would normally use the Suez Canal, to reroute via the Cape of Good Hope.

READ: Top UK, Iranian diplomats discuss Houthi attacks in Red Sea

Hoegh Autoliners 

The Norwegian shipping company said on 20 December it would stop sailing via the Red Sea after the Norwegian Maritime Authority raised its alert for the southern part of the sea to the highest level.

Klaveness Combination Carriers 

The Norway-based fleet operator said, on 28 December, it was unlikely to sail any of its vessels in the Red Sea, unless the situation improves.


The Danish shipping group said on 31 December it was pausing all sailing through the Red Sea for 48 hours after Houthi militants attacked the Maersk Hangzhou container vessel.

A 1 January advisory showed Maersk was to send more than 30 vessels through the Suez Canal in the coming days, while 17 other voyages were put on hold.

The company was expected to update its plans on 2 January.


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 two ballistic missiles were fired at one of its vessels.

Ocean Network Express 

Ocean Network Express (ONE), a joint venture between Japan’s Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Nippon Yusen,  said on 19 December it would re-route vessels away from the Red Sea to the Cape of Good Hope or temporarily pause journeys and move to safe areas.


The Hong Kong-headquartered container group said on 21 December it had instructed its vessels to either divert their route away from the Red Sea or suspend sailing. The company, owned by Orient Overseas (International) Ltd, has also stopped accepting cargo to and from Israel until further notice.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen 

The Norwegian shipping group said on 19 December it would halt Red Sea transits until further notice. Rerouting vessels via the Cape of Good Hope will add 1-2 weeks to voyage durations, it said.

Yang Ming Marine Transport 

The Taiwanese container shipping company 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.

READ: US allies abandoning Red Sea alliance