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June 25, 2024 5:13 pm

Maersk chief warns Red Sea shipping disruption may last for months

Jan 12, 2024 | Press Release

The boss of shipping giant AP Møller-Maersk has warned it could take months to reopen the crucial Red Sea trading route, risking an economic and inflationary hit to the global economy, companies and consumers.

A Maersk vessel was attacked in mid-December, causing the Danish group to suspend journeys through the Red Sea, a crucial link between Asia and Europe. The group restarted trips a few days later after a US-led military coalition tried to create safe passage, but it suffered a further attack at the end of December. Last week, Maersk said it would divert ships from the Red Sea around Africa “for the foreseeable future”.

Diverting container ships via the Cape of Good Hope adds about 13,000km in distance for an Asia-Europe round trip, and hundreds of dollars per container, Clerc said.

“At this time when inflation is a big issue, it’s putting inflationary pressure on our costs, on our customers, and ultimately on consumers in Europe and the US,” he added. “In the short run, it could cause significant disruptions at the end of January, February and into March.”

Maersk’s fuel bill will be 50 per cent higher as a result of ships taking the longer route. If unresolved, ships will soon be out of position, threatening logistics and global supply chains, Clerc said.

Maersk’s share price has risen by a quarter in the past month as container freight rates have shot up.

 

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