Shipping via Sudan: Threat of Delays and/or Damage

by Richard Kamppari Baker, Claims Director, World Insurance

Whilst many forwarders might not view Sudan as their main shipping route, as with any conflict, there will be a knock-on effect to other ports.

Many have felt the effects from the Russia-Ukraine war in experiencing delays, restrictions, or the ability to insure seemingly unrelated shipments.  Sudan does not look to be the same scenario, but there are hazards to come.

Due to ongoing conflict in Sudan, many insurers now list the country as a high-risk area, and carriers have ceased taking bookings. As Sudan is not a main transhipment hub, thus far, it has been relatively easy for carriers to avoid the area, with limited effect financially.

Sudan borders several countries, including Egypt and Libya, so, if the fighting escalates, this could impact transport to East and Central Africa.  Shipments enroute to this region could be terminated or subject to surcharges if there is any risk to the vessels, which will add to an increased burden on freight charges.

Many carriers will follow Maersk and Hapag Lloyd’s decision to cease calling at Sudan, and, for the time being, this likely will not affect other ports in the region.  The worry would be if the situation in Sudan escalates and begins to affect the Red Sea shipping lanes that supply trillions of dollars of goods to the world’s trade.

Port Sudan is in a very strategic position, which could cause catastrophic delays to the shipping industry if conflict in the area escalates.