Hapag-Lloyd Offers Saudi Arabia Land Routes as Red Sea Diversions Continue

Hapag-Lloyd container
Hapag is adding overland routes through Saudi Arabia to deal with the impact of vessels rerouting (Hapag file photo)

Published Jan 22, 2024 4:49 PM by The Maritime Executive

Hapag-Lloyd Launches Saudi Arabia Land Routes as Red Sea Diversions Continue

A month after diverting call of its container vessels away from the Red Sea due to security concerns, Hapag-Lloyd informed customers on Friday that it has a new temporary but novel solution to help with the disruptions to services especially in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Since the diversions began service has been impacted to the Middle Eastern ports leaving the areas in the northern Red Sea virtually stranded.

Hapag confirmed to Reuters after its latest security review that the carrier will continue diverting ships. This follows similar statements from other carriers including Maersk which last week said it expects the disruptions to last for months. Hapag is providing customers with a live ticker to track updates and it is currently showing well over 100 voyages by Hapag and its partners impacted on routes not only routes from Asia to Europe, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, and the Middle East but even the U.S. East Coast Loop all impacted by the diversions from the Suez Canal.

“As we continue to address the impact of the Suez Canal situation, we are introducing land service corridors from Jebel Ali, Dammam, and Jubail to Jeddah,” Hapag writes in its new customer advisory. The carrier says by providing the new land links in Saudi Arabia, in addition to standard corridors, it hopes to ease some of the challenges and delays. It will also permit them to provide a link to neighboring Jordan. Shippers will also be able to connect with Hapag’s ocean shuttle service out of Jeddah.



“While this is not the optimal solution in terms of capacity, it will offer another option to the current transit times, especially where alternative routings become excessively long,” writes Hapag. They are also promising to expand the inland network telling customers to “stay tuned” for more updates.

Hapag reports it typically services 55 ports and has 53 inland terminals in the Middle East. Its alternative is the latest in a series of steps carriers have taken in attempts to alleviate some of the disruptions. They are also working to add vessels and activate idled ships with the reports noting the increased demand is providing a new strength to the charter ship market and keeping the price for vessels high. Several carriers have also reported scheduling special off-route feeder service running round trip through the Suez Canal to the northern Red Sea.

Analysts had previously reported that more than 500 of the 700 container vessels scheduled for routes through the Red Sea had already been diverted. At the end of last week, CMA CGM citing the disruptions and lack of predictability in the area reported that it had decided to reroute its Northern Europe – Australia vessels around Africa. Previously, the French carrier had said it was still sending some vessels through the Red Sea and looking to gradually increase the number of vessels maintaining the routes.