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Cyprus Chamber Sees Significant Impact from Houthis on Shipping

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

January 11, 2024

© katatonia / Adobe Stock

© katatonia / Adobe Stock

Sustained attacks by Yemen's Houthis on vessels using Red Sea shipping lanes could have a "substantial" impact on economies and a knock-on effect on prices, a key Cypriot shipping industry group said on Thursday.

Attacks by Houthis have disrupted a vital trade route, particularly of oil, as vessels access the Suez Canal via the Red Sea. Some shipping lines have been forced to divert vessels from the Red Sea to longer routes, threatening supply bottlenecks.

"Where countries heavily depend on raw materials, gas, grain, pharmaceuticals we will have to assume that it will have a substantial impact on day-to-day living, business operations, and this will have a multiplying effect," said Thomas Kazakos, Director General of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber.

Freight prices had already risen, he said.

The industry group represents about 200 major shipowning, ship management, chartering and shipping-related companies based either in Cyprus or abroad. Cyprus has the third largest shipping fleet in the European Union, after Malta and Greece.

The Houthis are an Iran-aligned group that seized much of Yemen in a civil war. They have vowed to attack ships linked to Israel or heading there, to show support for Hamas Islamists battling an Israeli offensive in Gaza. Many of the targeted ships have had no links to Israel.

"States have an obligation to provide protection to international shipping, irrespective of flag, irrespective of ships being involved because this affects world trade, economies and societies in that order," Kazakos told Reuters.

"For us, the primary thing is for this issue to have been resolved, yesterday."

(Reuters - Reporting By Michele Kambas; Editing by Alex Richardson)