Following attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen, the main shipping companies have had to abandon the Suez Canal route.
The world's five leading shipowners - MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Cosco and Hapag-Lloyd - have ordered all container ships sailing in the Red Sea to reach safe areas or to bypass Africa via the Cape of Good Hope.
CMA CGM explains that in recent days it has taken increased preventive measures to ensure the safety of vessels and their crews sailing in the Red Sea. In a force majeure notice published yesterday, the option of sailing via the Cape of Good Hope was confirmed:
"CMA CGM has decided, in accordance with clause 10 of its bills of lading, to reroute some of its vessels currently sailing to and from the United States, to and from Northern Europe and to and from Asia or the Indian subcontinent, via the Cape of Good Hope, at the southern tip of Africa," says the group.
The other CMA CGM container ships in the area and due to transit the Red Sea have been instructed to reach safe areas and to interrupt their journey until further notice.
According to the daily Le Monde, which reports on multiple attacks in the Red Sea since the start of the Gaza conflict, including that of an MSC container ship hit by a ballistic missile last Friday, the rerouting of ships will result in longer transport times.
For example, bypassing Africa to connect Rotterdam to Singapore lengthens the journey by 40%, from around 8,400 nautical miles (15,550 km) to 11,720 miles (21,700 km), according to S&P Global. Delivery delays and higher freight rates are therefore to be expected.