Mon. May 27th, 2024

US-led operation offers relief in the Red Sea for Ethiopia

US-led operation offers relief in the Red Sea for Ethiopia

Logistics stakeholders in Ethiopia assert that the presence of the US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG) in the Red Sea has had a positive impact. According to actors in the logistics sector who spoke with Capital, Ethiopian logistical operations have been hindered by Yemen’s Houthi militia, which has launched attacks on vessels operated by Israel and those carrying Israeli goods. This situation is concerning, as it would make it extremely difficult for ships transporting Ethiopian goods to reach Djibouti, the country’s main port, on time. Djibouti is situated at the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which links the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden.

While Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics (ESL) insiders have informed Capital that the company has faced challenges since the Houthi militia posed a threat to commercial boats, ESL has not officially expressed its concerns about the situation at Bab el-Mandab. In addition to offering slot carrier and charter services, ESL is the only multimodal operator that conducts its own freight transportation. Experts note that while small quantities of equipment and consumer goods are also shipped from the north, fertilizer constitutes the majority of ESL’s cargo transported through the Suez Canal. ESL sources claim that the situation has improved since the US-led operation began providing security for commercial ships in the Strait. Sources state, “Activities have improved since the OPG initiative started late last month, even though the threat remains unresolved.”

The problem not only affects ships coming from the north but also impacts vessels traveling from the east, particularly those carrying goods from China and the Gulf countries, which are Ethiopia’s primary commercial partners. Djibouti, a critical transshipment hub in the region, has recently expressed concerns about the situation’s impact on its operations. Although the Houthi militia maintains that its targets are cargo ships bound for Israel or those operated by affiliated entities, there have been allegations of attacks on unrelated vessels.

To ensure the safety of commercial shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and reassure maritime businesses, the US is spearheading the establishment of a new multinational force. This initiative comes in response to a rise in attacks against commercial ships following Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Palestine. Due to the risks involved, international shipping companies are rerouting their vessels through the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, which is a costly and time-consuming alternative. However, experts in Ethiopian logistics believe that resolving the issue will not be a quick or straightforward task.

Capital Ethiopia

By Chala Dandessa

I am Lecturer, Researcher and Freelancer. I am the founder and Editor at ETHIOPIANS TODAY website. If you have any comment use caalaadd2@gmail.com as email contact. Additionally you can contact us through the contact page of www.ethiopianstoday.com.

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