Photo: Bahnfrend, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

CMA CGM resumes limited Red Sea transits on a case-by-case basis

French shipping giant CMA CGM has announced the resumption of limited transits through the Red Sea, following a suspension in December 2023 due to security concerns.

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In an official statement on 28 February, CMA CGM said it had “reassessed the situation in the southern area of the Red Sea and the evolving conditions allow us to resume transit on a case-by-case basis.

The company emphasised that it will closely assess the situation for each vessel before allowing transit, and therefore routing decisions cannot be anticipated or communicated. All other vessels deemed unsuitable for the Red Sea will continue to be diverted via the Cape of Good Hope.

This decision follows a period of heightened tension in the region, with several attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea attributed to Houthi rebels in Yemen, most notably the attack on the MSC Platinum III on 15 December, which resulted in limited fire damage and the vessel being taken out of service.

The attacks raised concerns about the safety of crew and cargo, leading major shipping lines, including MSC, Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd, to prioritise security by diverting vessels via the Cape of Good Hope, a significantly longer route with potential disruptions to global supply chains.

CMA CGM’s announcement on 28 February that it would resume limited operations in the Red Sea appeared to mark a potential step towards normalisation in the region. However, according to press reports, the Yemeni Houthis have said that attacks on ships in the Red Sea will continue, and that they will target British ships.