The exposure by "Globes" of the decision by Chinese shipping giant COSCO two weeks ago to stop visiting Israeli ports aroused international interest and concern, and now the numbers that demonstrate how China benefits from the move can be revealed.
According to Lloyd’s List, the decision by major shipping lines, led by Maersk, to avoid the Red Sea from December 17 led to a drop in the number of ships transiting the route from over 100 a week to fewer than 36. Shunning the sea lane via which, in normal times, 12% of global trade passes means a voyage two or three weeks longer around the Cape of Good Hope.
The big beneficiaries of this decline in cargo ship traffic in the Red Sea are small companies whose ships declare in their position reports that they have no connection to Israel, as demanded by the Houthi rebels, and Chinese-owned vessels, the proportion of which in the total number of ships transiting the Red Sea has shot up.
This trend demonstrates beyond doubt that besides the pressure that the Chinese seek to bring on Israel, they are also interested in the economic benefit arising from the fact that European importers from the East who want short supply chains have become highly dependent on Chinese shipping lines. The much shorter route via the Red Sea than via the Cape of Good Hope also ensures greater availability of COSCO ships than of those of its competitors.
In May last year, COSCO launched a service transporting Chinese-made cars to Eilat.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 22, 2024.
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