Hapag-Lloyd announces extra fees as Red Sea attacks hit trade

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd joined rivals on Friday in announcing surcharges for cargo it transports to and from the Middle East, following a spate of attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea.

A “peak seasonal surcharge” will apply for containers travelling from Asia and Oceania to the Red Sea region, comprising Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, from Jan. 1 until further notice, the shipping company said.

Containers going in the opposite direction will face an “operational recovery surcharge”, it added.

From Jan. 22, this surcharge will also apply to cargo travelling between India and the Middle East to North America.

The surcharges range from $250 to $1,000, depending on the route and container size.

A Hapag-Lloyd spokesperson told Reuters the additional charges were in response to the uncertain situation in the Red Sea.

Shipping giants Maersk and CMA CGM also imposed extra charges after Yemen’s Houthi militant group started targeting vessels, stoking concerns about disruption to global trade.

Maersk and CMA CGM are among leading shipping lines to have suspended the passage of vessels through the Red Sea that connects with the key Suez Canal, the quickest sea route between Asia and Europe.

Hapag-Lloyd said on Thursday it would reroute 25 ships by the end of the year to avoid the area.

(Reporting by Elke Ahlswede; Writing by Miranda Murray; Editing by Rachel More and Mark Potter)