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The nine industries facing shortages as Houthi rebels cause Red Sea chaos | World | News

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The Houthi rebels have been waging a war against cargo ships transiting through the Red Sea since mid-November.

Their attacks, which involved firing rockets, chasing vessels with speed boats and even seizing a ship, have led some shipping companies to find alternative routes to deliver their goods coming from Asia.

But the alternatives to passing through the Red Sea mean longer journeys and added costs for staff and fuel. Cargo vessels travelling around South Africa and the Cape of Good Hope rather than crossing the Red Sea take seven to 20 days longer to reach their destinations from the Asian continent.

When it comes to food imports, the UK largely relies on the European Union first and then other markets such as South America and South Africa that don’t need to cross the Suez Canal to reach Britain.

This means that Britons shouldn’t experience a massive surge in food prices in the immediate future.

However, there are several industries linked to the Red Sea trade routes which, as a consequence, are now facing disruption in supplies and price hikes.

The industries reliant on imports from Asia, and particularly China, believed to be most likely affected by the Red Sea crisis are nine – wine, clothing, footwear, furniture, electricals, electric vehicles, toys, homeware and construction.

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s said to be in contact with Downing Street over the chaos created by the Houthis in the Red Sea and warned the imports of some wines may be affected.

As it also owns retail company Argos, Sainsbury’s noted also the imports of general merchandise may be affected in the near future.

Furniture may be massively affected by disruption in the Red Sea, as almost half of imports into Europe come from Asia, according to analysts at Moody’s. Swedish furniture giant Ikea said shortages of its furniture may happen as a result of shipments meant to go through the Suez Canal being delayed.

Similarly, half of all toys imported into the UK and around two-fifths of homewares come from China alone, according to Retail Economics, which means their quickest delivery route is through the Red Sea.

The ever-growing fast fashion market, including clothing and footwear, is also heavily reliant on China, as are electric vehicles and electricals.

One perhaps unsuspected industry that fears being impacted by the actions of the Houthis is construction. Around 40 percent of non-metallic mineral products imported into Europe come from Asia through the Red Sea. Some of these are used to make cement.

Another material needed by the construction industry is polypropylene, which is used in lifting straps employed on the building site.

In the wake of the weeks-long attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea and the firing of missiles at a US vessel earlier this month, Washington and London ordered a series of airstrikes at more than 60 Houthis targets in Yemen.


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