Logistics UK statement on the current situation in the Red Sea

Tuesday 19 December 2023

In response to the current situation in the Red Sea, Logistics UK’s Head of Trade Nichola Mallon said: “Seafarers, vessels and the cargoes on them, as civilian trade, have the right under international law to move safely. These indiscriminate attacks from shore-based installations in Yemen are of serious concern from a safety and international trade perspective.

“The withdrawal of north-bound services from the Red Sea/Suez Canal route will mean their diversion via the Cape of Good Hope adding about 10 days to transit times and estimated arrival dates in North Europe and Mediterranean ports. With this diversion and delay comes additional costs. Any prolonged closure will add to the costs of goods, already under pressure from the effects of wider inflation, especially if flows of oil and natural gas are affected.

“This serious situation predominantly affects ships serving the Asia to North Europe and Mediterranean routes, however there could be knock-on effects in other regions if the situation escalates or lasts for a prolonged period. This interruption to global shipping also comes at a time when there are significant challenges to movement through the Panama Canal because of drought.  

“Logistics UK welcomes that a number of national governments are working to secure the safe passage of essential trade in international waters and protect the safety of crew, the free passage of ships and the continued functioning of this key international trade route. Meanwhile, logistics is a flexible and adaptable industry, which is already working to identify alternative routes to deliver goods to and from the UK.”

Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With decarbonisation, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.