Several Chinese shipping lines are redeploying their ships to service The Red Sea AndSuez CanalWhile analysts see this step as an attempt to exploit China's “perceived immunity” from… Houthi attacks That pushed most other operators out of the area.
His report in the British newspaper “Financial Times” said that these smaller lines serve ports; Such as: Doraleh in Djibouti, Hodeidah in Yemen, and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, all of which have suffered significant declines in traffic, with international container shipping lines redirected away from potential attacks from the Houthis.
Among the shipping lines that have redeployed their fleet, the newspaper says, is the “Transfer” shipping company based in Qingdao, which describes itself on its website as “an emerging player in the trans-Pacific market” and provides services between China and the United States.
Two of the three ships belonging to the “Transfer” shipping company are currently operating in the Middle East, and ship tracking sites show that one of them came from the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal in late last December, after many other lines had left the region.
The newspaper also talked about China United Lines, which announced that it had started the Red Sea express service.
The newspaper quoted “Sichen Chen”, a Chinese expert at Lloyd's List Intelligence, which specializes in the field of maritime data, as saying that the easiest explanation for the rush of Chinese operators to the region is that they seek to exploit their relative immunity against the Houthi attack to win business, adding that the commercial interest is The biggest reason.
The report stated that the move of Chinese lines to the Red Sea comes after most large container shipping lines – including the Chinese company “Cosco”, which operates the fourth largest fleet in the industry – abandoned the southern Red Sea due to security risks.
Figures issued by Clarksons Shipping Services show that the arrival of container ships near the mouth of the Red Sea in mid-January decreased by 90% from the average of the first half of last December.
Data from ship tracking service Marine Traffic showed that 7 of the ships deployed by the new arrivals were operating in markets elsewhere in October 2022, before the current turmoil.
The website of the Qingdao-based Sea Legend Company announced that its ships are prominently flying the Chinese flag and are sailing through the danger zone in the Red Sea accompanied by the Chinese Navy.
Sea Legend was a previously unknown operator, but this month it launched a service using 7 ships to connect Turkish ports, including Istanbul, with China via the Red Sea, according to the Financial Times.
The company provides its services to the ports of Aden in Yemen, Doraleh in Djibouti, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Aqaba in Jordan, and Sokhna in Egypt.
The newspaper quoted the company as adding the Red Sea region to its services, to provide a solution for shipping companies in the Far East while providing appropriate security.
According to the newspaper, there is another company of this type, the Fujian Huahui Shipping Company, which operates two ships that recently crossed the Suez Canal.
Some ships confirm through satellite identification data that they are owned by Chinese, but according to Simon Heaney, director of container research at shipping consultancy Drury in London, the new arrivals may “disappear very quickly” when the turmoil ends.