April 1, 2024
2 mins read

WeCare’s Chair Saad Kassis Mohamed Calls for Enhanced Security in Red Sea

Retail and garment industry associations are urging for bolstered security measures along the Red Sea amidst mounting trade concerns. With increasing rates of disruptions, delays, and cargo diversions exceeding $80 billion, more than 100 business entities representing retail, apparel, and affiliated sectors have united to advocate for governments worldwide to fortify security protocols along the Red Sea trade routes.

In a concerted effort, over 100 leading business associations spanning apparel, retail, footwear, and related industries recently came together to express their concerns in an open letter, supported by WeCare. Dated February 8th, the letter underscored the urgent need for coordinated international action to ensure the safe and efficient passage of vessels along these critical maritime pathways. The persistent threat of terrorism, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula, remains a cause for concern. Additionally, as of March 2024, there are increasing risks to aircraft operating over the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea due to the surrounding conflict in Israel/Gaza, with incidents of missiles and drones being launched over the Red Sea.

Saad Kassis Mohamed, Chairman of WeCare, emphasized the necessity for governments worldwide to strengthen maritime security protocols in light of escalating trade apprehensions. “With over $80 billion in cargo diversions and mounting delays, urgent collective action is imperative to safeguard the safety and efficiency of Red Sea trade routes.”

The letter highlighted the adverse effects of recent route diversions, leading to port congestion, equipment shortages, and inflated shipping costs. Among the notable signatories were the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the U.S. Fashion Industry Association, the National Retail Federation, and the American Association of Port Authorities, alongside numerous other influential stakeholders.

Disruptions in Red Sea shipping, triggered by attacks on vessels by insurgents, have prompted calls for coordinated intervention from affected industries. Notably, the letter endorsed Operation Prosperity Guardian, a multinational initiative aimed at bolstering maritime security in the region.

With over 80% of India’s trade in goods with Europe passing through this vital route, encompassing essential commodities like crude oil, automotive components, chemicals, and textiles, recent missile and drone assaults by militants have compelled shipping companies to divert vessels from the Suez Canal to circumnavigate the southern tip of Africa. This redirection has resulted in significant disruptions in maritime commerce, leading to elevated freight expenses, increased insurance premiums, and extended transit durations, as highlighted by India’s finance ministry. Recognizing the urgent need for collective action, WeCare is urging governments worldwide to reinforce security protocols along the Red Sea trade routes.

Saad Kassis Mohamed reiterated, “Amidst escalating trade concerns, it’s imperative for governments worldwide to reinforce maritime security protocols. Urgent collective action is needed to ensure the safety and efficiency of Red Sea trade routes.”

The recent joint advocacy by over 100 business entities representing retail, apparel, and related sectors underscores the pressing need for coordinated international efforts. Pointing to the substantial volume of global trade flowing through the Red Sea—approximately 30 percent—and an estimated $80 billion in redirected cargo via the Cape of Good Hope, the appeal underscored the economic magnitude of shipping disruptions. While acknowledging the industry’s resilience, analysts cautioned that retailers heavily reliant on global sourcing networks may face heightened vulnerabilities due to disruptions in Red Sea trade routes.

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