Factbox-How companies are responding to attacks on ships in the Red Sea

(Reuters) – Attacks on vessels by Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen have disrupted international commerce on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

The attacks, targeting a route that accounts for about 15% of the world’s shipping traffic, have pushed several shipping companies to reroute their vessels.

Below are companies’ (in alphabetical order) responses to the disturbances:


The Primark-owner is monitoring the situation, but its supply chains are capable of some adjustment, a company spokesperson told Reuters, adding that “so far we see no need to be concerned”.


The German chemical company does not see disruptions to raw material supply or product distribution, but it is closely monitoring the situation, a company spokesperson said.


The oil major on Dec. 18 said it had temporarily paused all transits through the Red Sea.


The German chemicals maker said any possible increases in transit times would not impact its product supply. Covestro expects its ocean shipping line partners to continue shipping through the passage as soon as it can be operated safely.


The French food group said most of its shipments had been diverted, which would increase transit times. Should the situation last beyond 2-3 months, the group will activate mitigation plans, including using alternate routes via sea or road wherever possible, a Danone spokesperson said.


The Swedish home appliances maker set up a task force to find alternative routes or identify priority deliveries to try to avoid any disruption. It currently sees a limited impact on deliveries.


The Norwegian oil and gas firm on Dec. 18 said it had rerouted vessels that had been heading towards the Red Sea.


The Swedish hygiene products maker is monitoring the situation and staying in contact with impacted suppliers to ensure continued flow of goods, but sees a limited impact as only a low percentage of its supplies move through the Suez Canal, the company told Reuters.


The Norwegian retailer, which imports 35-40% of its goods sold from Asia via sea freight, told Reuters it supported shipping companies’ decision to reroute vessels. Europris said the longer shipping times were within its safety margin and no significant challenges were expected.


Geely, China’s second-largest automaker by sales, said on Dec. 22 its EV sales would likely be impacted by a delay in deliveries, as most of the shipping firms it uses to export EVs to Europe plan to go around the Cape of Good Hope.


The Swedish ready-to-assemble furniture retailer told Reuters on Dec. 19 that the situation in the Suez Canal would result in delays and may cause availability constraints for certain products.

“In the meantime, we are evaluating other supply options to secure the availability of our products,” it added.


The Finnish chemicals company said on Dec. 19 that shipping companies’ decisions to reroute vessels around the Cape of Good Hope would affect some of its international routes, but not in any significant way at least in the short term.

“There is currently spare capacity on the market and waiting times at ports are reasonably good,” a Kemira spokesperson told Reuters.


The Finnish elevator maker said the situation may in some cases delay shipments by 2-3 weeks, though a majority of its customer deliveries should stay on schedule. Kone added it had prepared for the disruptions by seeking alternative delivery methods and routes, among others.


Tailwind Shipping Lines, a unit of the German discount supermarket chain, which transports non-food goods for Lidl and goods for third-party customers, said it was sailing around the Cape of Good Hope for now.


The German electronics retailer, and Ceconomy subsidiary, told Reuters on Dec. 21 that it currently does not expect the situation to affect its supply chain or the availability of products during the Christmas season.

“If the situation persists for longer, we cannot rule out the possibility that we may also experience isolated effects on the availability of goods in the medium term,” it added.


The U.S. fertilizer company said on Dec. 18 it had rerouted a couple of U.S.-bound shipments around the Cape of Good Hope.


The world’s top contract chipmaker said on Dec. 19 it had a long-established enterprise risk management system in place, and after an assessment it did not anticipate a significant impact on its operations.


The German carmaker said on Dec. 20 that rerouting of shipments would result in around two weeks longer journeys.

“So far we have not seen any problems, but we are prepared in any case and have enough time over the holidays to include the two-week longer route,” it told Reuters.


The Swedish automaker said it was affected by the shipping hindrances and was investigating the potential impact. However, it sees no impact on its ability to reach global wholesale and production targets, the company told Reuters.


Whirlpool is closely monitoring logistics issues in the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and the wider region to help mitigate risks as they arise, the appliances maker told Reuters, adding that currently there was no impact to its business.


The Red Sea is an important supply route for Yara, the Norwegian fertilizer maker said, but added it was only mildly impacted by the transit challenges for now.

(Compiled by Izabela Niemiec and Paolo Laudani in Gdansk; editing by Ed Osmond and Milla Nissi)