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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Suez Canal Authority assures global shipping lines of support amid rising Red Sea tensions
RIYADH: Global shipping lines passing through the Suez Canal have received assurance of support from the channel’s operator to mitigate current conditions amid rising tensions in the Red Sea.
Speaking in a meeting with a group of representatives from maritime companies and agencies, Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabie said that the entity is working to reduce repercussions on the global trade movement and maritime transport market, according to a statement.
This aligns with the authority’s commitment to closely monitor the prevailing tensions in the Red Sea and their impact on traffic in the canal.
The comments came less than a week after the UN revealed the volume of commercial traffic passing through the Suez Canal has fallen more than 40 percent in the last two months after attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
The group say they are targeting what they consider Israeli-linked commercial and military shipping in the region in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, pushing some cargo carriers to take longer and more expensive routes to avoid attack, according to an Agence France-Presse report on Jan. 26.
In his comments to maritime companies’ representatives, Rabie said: “The Suez Canal keeps in mind the interests of its customers and works to reduce the impact of the current conditions on the global trade movement passing through the canal by providing a package of navigational and maritime services that suit the needs of passing ships in normal and emergency circumstances.”
The chairman emphasized that this commitment extends to refueling, marine ambulance services, as well as rescue and pollution control services.
Furthermore, Rabie stressed the inclusion of repair and ship maintenance services in the package.
The Suez Canal is integral to global trade, facilitating the transit of 12 percent of the world’s international trade volume and 25 percent of the global container trade, the chairman underlined during the meeting.
He also highlighted that the current tensions impose more challenges on global supply chains due to the increase in voyage duration and the rise in ship operational costs, freight loads, and insurance expenses.
Consequently, this has a direct impact on international supply chains. It also influences the consumer regarding the increase in the costs of goods and delays in their arrival.
Additionally, taking alternative travel routes has a negative environmental impact, as ships consume larger amounts of fuel and produce higher levels of carbon emissions.
Earlier in January, a report issued by Fitch Ratings said that disruptions in the Red Sea are expected to exacerbate global economic woes by increasing manufacturers’ working capital in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
The maritime crisis is expected to affect the free cash flow of industrial manufacturers, the report said.
The agency also noted that ships rerouting from the Suez Canal could increase manufacturers’ working capital needs due to slower transportation of parts and finished products.
It further pointed out that redirecting vessels would limit stops to major ports, thus increasing the need for feeder services to move containerized goods to their final destinations.
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