April 20, 2024

Global Trade Associations Urge Unity To Keep Red Sea Open

100 various industry trade associations from across the globe including the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and the International Apparel Federation (IAF) called for a wider cooperation to keep shipping lanes open and safe.

The signatories, representing a range of critical industries like food and agricultural products, retail, energy, clothing, shoes, electronics, and medicine are urging governments to support a mission to support safe and secure maritime commerce in the Red Sea.

The letter pointed out to the Operation Prosperity Guardian, which has drawn participation of at least 23 participating countries till date and urged the world’s governments to work together to defend maritime safety and security, which is critical for the global economy.

“Terrorist attacks in the Red Sea imperil the safety and security of crew and cargo, which is now forcing carriers to divert to other routes,” the letter stated.

Shipping lanes on the other side of the world from the Red Sea are beginning to be adversely affected and that global transportation is already strained from reduced access to the drought-ridden Panama Canal.

Disruptions are leading to a host of knock-on effects, including port congestion, equipment shortages, and soaring shipping rates that create inflationary impacts for consumers worldwide.

“It is imperative that governments unite behind a zero-tolerance approach to deter attacks on commercial vessels and seafarers in the Red Sea, and anywhere in the world,” AAFA President and CEO Steve Lamar said.

“The prosperity of millions of people who are employed in our industries and in the global maritime industry depends on safe and secure freedom of navigation,” Lamar added.

“These attacks have already caused upwards of $80 billion in cargo to be diverted around the Cape of Good Hope. Traveling around the Cape of Good Hope adds at least 2-3 weeks of travel and additional fuel and labour costs,” Matthijs Crietee, Secretary General of IAF also said.

“This alternative route becomes even more challenging during the Southern Hemisphere winter months. So cooperation among nations is essential to signal the importance of free passage in international waters,” Crietee stated.

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