Date: 10.01.2024

RoRo car carriers and the Red Sea

Despite the widely reported news of container shipping lines rerouting vessels around southern Africa to avoid danger to crew and cargo in the Red Sea following attacks on ships by Houthi militants, the RoRo car carriers have a mixed policy on whether to transit through the Suez.

While the supply chain and mainstream press has been widely reporting the decision by the container carriers to suspend sailings through the Suez Canal until the safety of their vessels can be guaranteed, there have been very few public announcements from RoRo car carriers, no reports by the trade press and even the web sites of the three largest carriers are devoid of updates.

To provide you with the latest intelligence we have spoken with our contacts at the six largest PCTC RoRo carriers, to learn what sailing strategy they are following and can confirm that it is an even split, diverting around the Cape of Good Hope and transiting through the Suez Canal (with some limitations).

The carriers continuing through the Red Sea will do so under caution with the support of naval forces and with one carrier noting that only vessels not owned by Israel related entities will continue via the Red Sea.

Carriers that are rerouting via the Cape of Good Hope have also advised that vessels will no longer call into the Middle East, removing ports such as Jeddah and Aqaba from their schedules.

Sailing around Southern Africa will increase transit times by 10-14 days each way, but it is a safe routing and until the security situation in the Red Sea improves is the most prudent strategy.

However, the additional transit time effectively removes much needed RoRo capacity from the market, with something like another 30% of volume required to maintain current schedule levels.

Container shipping is experiencing the same extended transit times around the Cape, but it does not yet have RoRo’s capacity issues, which means that our container shipping expertise still provides an alternative transport solution for finished car movements.

If you would like any further information or have any questions or concerns about your Automotive supply chain, your export logistics platform into The Middle East, Africa, Indian Sub and beyond or any of the content and developments outlined here, please EMAIL our Automotive team who are standing by to assist.