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Navigating the Storm: Addressing Supply Chain Pressures Amid the Red Sea Security Crisis

In 2024, global supply chains are experiencing heightened pressures as a result of the security crisis unfolding in the...

In 2024, global supply chains are experiencing heightened pressures as a result of the security crisis unfolding in the Red Sea, also known as the Red Sea crisis, leading to increased shipping costs and mounting pressure on supply chains. This article will delve into the details of the crisis and explore potential strategies to address this pressing issue.

What is the Red Sea crisis?

The Red Sea crisis, also referred to as the United States-Iran proxy war, commenced on 19 October 2023, when the Houthi movement in Yemen launched a series of attacks. These attacks were directed towards Southern Israel and claimed to target ships in the Red Sea that were allegedly connected to Israel. However, ships without a noticeable link to Israel were also targeted, which raises concerns for logistics companies.

What are the effects of the Red Sea crisis?

  1. Rerouting of shipping routes

Due to the crisis, many major shipping and logistics giants have announced to reroute their shipping routes away from the Red Sea. One alternative route is the Cape of Good Hope, located at the southern tip of Africa. This route adds substantial distance to the journey, which requires more time, fuel, and resources, and thus leads to an increase in costs to around 3 times. Companies may try to pass on these additional expenses to maintain profitability, which can further impact the shipping fees charged to customers.

  1. Disruption in companies’ operations

Companies that heavily depend on efficient and timely shipping through the Red Sea may experience delays and disruptions in their operations. This can impact the availability of goods in the market and cause logistical challenges for businesses.

  1. Economic impact on countries and regions

The crisis can have significant economic consequences for countries and regions that rely on the Red Sea for trade and transportation, especially routes between Europe and Asia. The disruption of this route can lead to decreased trade volumes, reduced economic activity, and potential job losses in these areas.

What are the strategies facing the Red Sea crisis?

To address the current turbulent times, the industry is actively seeking ways to maintain the shipping quality, including but not limited to:

  1. Enhancement of shipment tracking and visibility

By utilizing advanced tracking technologies and real-time data analytics, companies can closely monitor their shipments, enabling them to identify potential bottlenecks or delays early on. This proactive approach allows for swift action and minimizes the impact of disruptions on the overall supply chain.

  1. Diversification of shipping methods and routes

Additionally, diversification of shipping methods and routes has become a strategic priority. By diversifying shipping methods and routes, companies can reduce their vulnerability to disruptions in a particular region. This strategy spreads the risk and ensures that goods can be transported through different channels, even in the event of a crisis or congestion in a specific area. 

Besides sea shipping, companies can also explore the option of air shipping. While sea shipping has traditionally been favored due to lower shipping fees, the increasing costs associated with sea shipping have diminished this advantage. Meanwhile, air shipping offers the benefits of shorter transit times and wider destination coverage, making it a viable and attractive option for companies to explore. 

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  • Incredibly competitive shipping fee as low as HK$60
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