Close this search box.

NDTO News Article

International Shipping Delays Expected as the Red Sea Attacks Are Increasing

This week, several commercial container ships were attacked in the Red Sea. Missiles fired by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen targeting a Liberian-flagged vessel the, Al Jasrah, a Hapag-Loyd ship on December 15. A second attack has also been reported, striking another commercial vessel, causing a fire but no casualties. Both missile incidents occurred in the Bab El Mandab (Gate of Grief), a strait located between Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula that connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden to the Indian Ocean. Hijackings have also been on the rise for the past several weeks.

These attacks serve as examples of the growing tensions in the region and their impact on global trade. Attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea have been increasing since the start of the situation in Israel that began in October of this year. Recent attacks on vessels have included a combination of explosive drones, hijackings, and missile attacks. ” Issues in the Middle East have escalated to attacks on civilian commercial vessels. This is a serious threat to world peace and commerce,” says Executive Director of the NDTO, Drew Combs. “Shippers should expect major delays transiting through the Red Sea.”

At this time, Maersk has asked all vessels to pause their passage through the Bab El Mandab. This halt, along with the region’s instability, will have a global impact with no definitive end. Supply chains will be impacted. Combs explains that “if the situation is not resolved quickly, we could see something similar to the Ever Given situation that occurred in 2021.” Any ship coming through the Suez Canal would typically need to go through the Bab El Mandab, which can be more than 17,000 ships annually, accounting for 10% of world trade.

The US Navy has moved into the area. It has been assisting with disarming or shooting down missile attacks in the region, along with monitoring from UK Maritime Trade Operations and private intelligence firms. This, however, may not be enough, as a multination approach may be a better solution to curb escalating tensions and threats to global trade.


Should more carriers pause shipments or use alternate routes, t increased delays, higher insurance premiums, and rates to get goods across the globe will follow. As this is a developing situation, the NDTO is here to assist with hardships to the best of our abilities to support the exporters of North Dakota. We can be contacted at