Osama Rabie, the head of Egypt’s Suez Canal authority, has disclosed that dollar revenues from the Suez Canal have experienced a significant 40% decline since the beginning of the year compared to 2023. The decrease is attributed to attacks on ships by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, leading major shippers to redirect their routes.
Speaking on a late-night talk show, Rabie highlighted a substantial 30% reduction in ship traffic between Jan. 1 and Jan. 11 compared to the same period last year. The total number of vessels passing through the Suez Canal has diminished to 544 in the current year, down from 777 recorded in the equivalent period of 2023, as reported by Reuters.
The Houthi rebels, aligned with Iran, have been targeting commercial vessels in the Red Sea for weeks in a show of support for Palestinians in the conflict with Israel. Consequently, numerous commercial shippers have opted for alternative routes, with the United States announcing a new international mission last month to patrol the Red Sea and deter such attacks.
Rabie clarified that only ships with urgent travel requirements have diverted around the Cape of Good Hope, while others are patiently awaiting a stabilisation of the situation. Despite the challenges, he emphasised that security concerns for shippers cannot be mitigated through discounts or other incentives offered by the canal.
He expressed optimism, stating, “A very large portion of the goods will return (to the Canal) once this matter is finished,” referring to the impact of Houthi attacks.