Dangerous Suez Canal passage: Ikea fears delivery delays due to Houthi attacks

Dangerous Suez Canal passage
Ikea fears delivery delays due to Houthi attacks

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Because of the attacks by the Houthi rebels, many shipping companies currently prefer to send their freighters around the Horn of Africa rather than around the Suez Canal. A detour lasting days that could soon also have an impact on retail. In any case, the Swedish furniture company Ikea is already warning of limited availability.

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has warned of possible delivery delays and even empty shelves due to the Red Sea bypass following attacks on container ships. “The situation in the Suez Canal will cause delays and may limit the availability of some Ikea products,” the company said. Because of the wave of attacks on container ships by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, many freighters are currently avoiding sailing through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.

The Red Sea and the Suez Canal are central trade routes for world trade; around 20,000 ships pass through the Suez Canal every year. If container ships instead sail around the southern tip of Africa on the route between Asia and Europe, the journey could take a week longer, and the detour also causes additional fuel costs amounting to hundreds of thousands of euros.

Military coalition is growing

More than 20 countries have now joined an international military coalition to secure maritime trade in the region. The association led by the USA already includes Bahrain, France, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, the Seychelles and Spain, and Greece recently also agreed to join. The federal government is currently considering involving the Bundeswehr.

Ikea said it was in close contact with the transport companies and said the safety of its workforce was its top priority. “In the meantime, we are exploring other delivery options to ensure the availability of our products and we will continue to monitor the situation closely,” the group said.

Since the beginning of the war between Israel and the radical Islamic Palestinian organization Hamas, the Houthi militia in Yemen has repeatedly fired drones and rockets at Israel and most recently attacked ships in the Red Sea several times. Yemen is located on the Bab-al-Mandeb Strait between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Because of the repeated attacks, several shipping companies have announced in recent days that they will stop sailing through the strait.

The Houthi rebels are threatening to attack any ship heading to Israel unless more food and medicine are allowed to be transported to the Gaza Strip. A senior Houthi official said the rebels would continue their attacks despite the international military coalition to secure maritime trade.

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