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Panama Canal Reports No Traffic Increase Amid Red Sea Attacks

The Panama Canal Authority said on Thursday it has not seen a notable traffic increase due to the situation in the Red Sea, where attacks by Yemen’s Houthi group are forcing vessels to divert or switch their transponders off. The hostilities have put a chokehold on ship passages through the Suez Canal, which handles about 12% of worldwide trade, and according to analysts could end up forcing some vessel owners to try to pass the Panama Canal even amid transit restrictions due to severe drought.

“To date, we have not observed a notable increase in the number of vessels directly associated with the ongoing situation in the Red Sea,” the Panama Canal Authority told Reuters in a written statement.

Earlier this month, the canal relaxed a planned reduction to just 20 authorized daily transits next month. Instead, the authority increased the number of authorized ships to pass to 24.

The waterway’s administrator will continue monitoring the country’s water conditions, it said. The authority relies on rain water to fill the locks that make passage possible.

“The modification of restrictions will be contingent upon the variability of rainfall in the upcoming months.”

The Iran-aligned Houthis, who control much of Yemen, have been attacking ships passing through the Bab al-Mandab Strait at the southern end of the Red Sea for weeks in what they say is a response to Israel’s war in Gaza.

Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd said this week it will reroute 25 ships by the end of the year from the Suez Canal as freight rates and shipping stocks have increased because of the disruption.

(Reuters – Reporting by Elida Moreno, writing by Marianna Parraga)

The post Panama Canal Reports No Traffic Increase Amid Red Sea Attacks first appears on MarineLink.