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Cost of maritime transportation between Asia and Morocco surges up to 100%

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In the last three weeks, the cost of maritime transportation between Asia and Morocco has surged by 60 to 100% due to attacks by Houthi rebels from Yemen on international commercial ships in the Red Sea, according to EFE.

Rachid Tahiri, the president of the Association of Freight Forwarders of Morocco (AFFM), said  that since December 15, shipping prices for cargo from Asia, particularly China, and even some European countries like Italy, have risen because of the conflict in the Red Sea.

“The cost of shipping a 20-foot container from Shanghai to Casablanca increased from $1,450 to $2,800 (from €1,324 to €2,557) since last month’s 15th,” Tahiri said, adding that they will wait until mid-month to see if costs will change.

Tahiri said that if the conflict persists, it will impact imports or exports like tomatoes and fish, which could be “vulnerable” to these changes.

Almost 15% of global maritime trade passes through the Red Sea, including 8% of global cereal trade, 12% of maritime oil trade, and 8% of global liquefied natural gas trade.

In recent months, this region has been mired in instability due to Israel’s aggressions in the Gaza Strip. In support of the Palestinian group, Houthi rebels from Yemen have been attacking commercial ships.

Nearly twenty shipping companies have recently decided to redirect their merchant vessels’ routes around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa to limit Houthi attacks. This adds an average of 10 days to their journeys, along with increased transportation costs.

The Houthis, supported by Iran, have adopted a strategy to back Hamas, put pressure on Israel, and save face for not being able to do more to halt the war in Gaza.

To counter these attacks, the United States recently announced a military coalition consisting of more than 20 nations under the name ‘Operation Prosperity Guardian.’

Despite the final warning issued by the White House and its allies to the Houthi group, an armed unmanned surface vessel from Houthi-controlled Yemen approached within a couple of miles of the U.S. Navy and commercial vessels in the Red Sea on Thursday. The vessel detonated shortly thereafter.

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