CMA CGM Planning to Gradually Increase Sailings Through the Red Sea

Author: Sevgul Gasimzade
Published: 27.12.2023 14:55

French shipping line CMA CGM is working plans to gradually increase the number of sailings through the Red Sea, however the timing and scope of its plans remains highly uncertain as attacks on shipping continue in the region.

CMA CGM was among a number of shipping lines to reroute vessels via the Cape of Good Hope amid a surge of drone and missile attacks against international ships over the past month by the Iran-backed Houthi militant group based in Yemen.

An update from CMA CGM on Tuesday revealed that the company has so far rerouted 13 northbound and 15 southbound vessels, while some others have made the transit through the Red Sea—a decision the company said was “based on an in-depth evaluation of the security landscape” and its commitment to the security and safety of seafarers.

“We are currently devising plans for the gradual increase in the number of vessels transiting through the Suez Canal. We are monitoring the situation constantly and we stand ready to promptly reassess and adjust our plans as needed,” CMA CGM said in its update.

“Advanced security procedures are in place to ensure the safety of the crew and vessel, our number one priority in handling the challenging situation in the Red Sea area,” the update added.

CMA CGM’s announcement comes after Maersk’s decision on Sunday to begin preparations to resume Red Sea transits after confirmation that the US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG) has been set up and deployed to the region.

Operation Prosperity Guardian was announced by the U.S. on December 18, but the coalition got off to a slow start due to a lack of support among some key allies.

Meanwhile, Houthi attacks on merchant shipping continued over the weekend and this week with an attack reported today on an MSC containership that fortunately resulted in no injuries or damage to the ship. Meanwhile, the U.S. Central Command said the USS Laboon and F/A-18 Super Hornets from the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group successfully shot down a dozen attack drones, three ballistic missiles, and two cruise missiles over the Southern Red Sea that were fired by the Houthis over a 10-hour period on December 26.

The Houthi’s have vowed to continue the attacks as long as Israel continues its war on Hamas in Gaza in response to Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, 2023.