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Maersk schedules dozens of vessels to travel via Suez Canal

Published Dec 27, 2023 07:19AM ET Updated Dec 27, 2023 08:20AM ET
© Reuters. Maersk’s logo is seen in stored containers at Zona Franca in Barcelona, Spain, November 3, 2022. REUTERS/Albert Gea
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OSLO (Reuters) -Denmark’s Maersk said on Wednesday it has scheduled several dozen container vessels to travel via the Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the next several weeks, in a further sign that global shipping firms are returning to the route.
The schedule remains subject to change based on specific contingency plans that may be formed over the coming days, the company said.
The world’s top shipping companies, including container giants Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd, stopped using Red Sea routes after Yemen’s Houthi militant group began targeting vessels earlier this month, disrupting global trade.
Maersk said on Dec. 24 it was preparing a return to the Red Sea for both eastbound and westbound journeys, citing the deployment of a U.S.-led military operation to protect vessels against Houthi attacks, but provided few details.
France’s CMA CGM similarly on Tuesday said it was increasing the number of vessels travelling through the Suez Canal.
Among the vessels listed in a Maersk advisory to clients on Wednesday was the Maren Maersk, which departed Tangiers on Dec. 24 and would “continue via Suez Canal” with an estimated time of arrival in Singapore on Jan. 14.
But many of its vessels are still scheduled to take the journey around Africa, the advisory showed.
Maersk has since Dec. 19 rerouted ships around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope to avoid attacks, charging customers extra fees and adding weeks to the time it takes to transport goods from Asia to Europe and to the east coast of North America.
German rival Hapag-Lloyd still considers the situation too dangerous to pass through the Suez Canal, a spokesperson for the company said on Wednesday, adding that it would continue to reroute its vessels via the Cape of Good Hope.
“We continuously assess the situation and plan a next review on Friday,” the spokesperson said.

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