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Security boss: West Africa re-routing doesn’t have to happen

Security boss: West Africa re-routing doesn’t have to happen
Egypt: Despite toll hikes and regional unrest, the Suez Canal is still a better option than the Cape of Good Hope, Typhon ceo Ant Sharp has claimed.

The security chief indicates that rioting has become a bigger concern for Shipowners than May’s toll hikes, with reports that protesters in Port Said have attempted to blockade the canal with ferries and other boats. Typhon indicates that Port Security, which is included on its list of services, could well be offered to the Egyptian government.

“Shipping companies are concerned that escalating tensions in Egypt are affecting wider trade with the country," said Sharp. "The unrest which includes some disruptions along the Suez Canal is a major cause for concern for shipowners, charterers and the government. Re-routing will be a big issue for Egypt which heavily depends on the fees it charges ships for permission to transit the canal. In short, one of Egypt’s major sources of foreign revenue is the canal. Revenue has been in decline for several years due to a decrease in transits and the rise of piracy off the coast of Somalia.

“Should Egypt continue to increase transit toll fees to boost revenues and should there be a rise in shipowners re-routing and an increase in piracy due to incessant unrest, the steady decline of the country will only continue and countries will cease to trade with Egypt.”

“But if shipowners really weigh up the pros and cons, in terms of cost savings, they will see that the massively high fuel prices involved in re-routing around say the Cape of Good Hope, would be more expensive than incorporating a bespoke private protection model, like  that of Typhon’s, into their business and transiting the canal”.

A few days earlier, Peter Sand, reported in Reuters, said bunker costs, which are currently around $650 per tonne, would need to be below $390 per tonne to make re-routing viable. "The massively high fuel price plays the full advantage into the hands of the Suez canal," he said.

Meanwhile, growing piracy off the Ivory Coast is another consideration for shipowners, with a number of vessels being attacked off Liberia and Nigeria, notably the previously reported hijacking of French tanker M.V. Gascogne in February.

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