Maersk to send almost all ships via Suez, schedule shows

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Maersk to send almost all ships via Suez, schedule shows

Danish company Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) will now send almost all of its cargo ships travelling between Asia and Europe through the Suez Canal. Only a few will go around Africa instead, according to a schedule released by Reuter’s on Thursday.

Big shipping companies, like Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd (HLAG.DE), stopped using the Red Sea and the Suez Canal earlier this month after the Houthi rebel group in Yemen started attacking ships. This stopped all international trade.

To avoid attacks, they changed the path of the ships around Africa so that they went around the Cape of Good Hope. This cost customers extra money and made it take days or weeks longer to get goods from Asia to Europe and the east coast of North America.

But on December 24, Maersk said it was getting ready to go back to the Red Sea because of a military operation led by the United States to protect ships. On Wednesday, plans showed that ships would be going to Suez in the next few weeks.

After a careful analysis, it was found that Maersk had redirected 26 of its own ships around the Cape of Good Hope in the past 10 days, but only five more were set to begin the same trip.

On the other hand, the company’s plan showed that more than 50 Maersk ships will go through Suez in the next few weeks.

Houthi militants in Yemen are attacking ships in the Red Sea, which is making it harder for ships to use the Suez Canal. As a result, some ships are taking a much longer path east to west through the southern tip of Africa.

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), an alliance partner of Maersk, said that all MSC ships would continue to go around the Cape of Good Hope for now, no matter when they left or which way they were going.

MSC did not answer right away when asked for a statement.

Hapag Lloyd said on Wednesday that it still thought it was too dangerous to go through the Suez Canal. They also said that they would look at the situation again on Friday.

About one-third of all container ships in the world use the Suez Canal. If ships have to go around the southern tip of Africa instead, it could cost up to $1 million more in fuel for every round trip between Asia and Northern Europe.

A few other third-party ships in Maersk’s union were also planning to set sail in the next few weeks. The schedule showed that two of them would go around Africa while the others would go through Suez.

Maersk has said that all schedules could still change depending on the exact backup plans that are made in the next few days.

A request for word from the company did not get a response right away.

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