CMA CGM has rerouted more of its ships around the Cape of Good Hope in the face of increasing security threats in the Red Sea.
The world’s third-largest liner company said on Friday that its NEMO service, which links Europe to India and Australia, would divert via southern Africa.
“Due to recent attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea Region, CMA CGM Group is taking contingency measures on several services usually crossing the Suez Canal to ensure the safety of its vessels and their crews navigating these waters,” the shipowner said.
“In that respect, please note that NEMO Service will temporarily stop crossing [the] Suez Canal and go via the Cape of Good Hope, both ways.”
Rodolphe Saade, chief executive of CMA CGM, said ships that could be accompanied by a French warship were still being sent through the Suez Canal.
“France is helping us a lot,” he told The Financial Times over the weekend.
Saade said the company was handling the matter on a case-by-case basis.
“Our schedules are in complete disarray and we’re not able to stick to our timings because sometimes we’re passing around Good Hope and sometimes, we’re having to wait to pass the Red Sea,” Saade told the FT.
“There appears to be no solution for now. We are bracing for this to last several months,” he added.
CMA CGM had been one of the few major liner companies willing to run the risk of running the Red Sea gauntlet despite one of its ships being attacked.
The 9,385-teu CMA CGM Tage (built 2015) was targeted by Houthi militants while en route from Singapore to Alexandria, Egypt on the evening of 2 January.
Clarksons recently reported that 90% of container capacity by teu that previously used the Suez Canal is now diverting around the Cape of Good Hope, which can add up to two weeks to deliveries on key Asia-Europe routes.
Separately, the Suez Canal Authority has been releasing pictures of vessels transiting the Egyptian waterway to emphasise that transits were continuing.
The pictures included those of CMA CGM vessels, including the company’s newest, largest class of LNG-fuelled container ships.
Similarly, the French Navy released pictures last week showing CMA CGM and APL-branded container ships making the Red Sea transit accompanied by a warship.