The outbreak of civil conflict in Sudan has created disruptions in the air and sea freight industry. The majority of companies have suspended or modified their operations in the face of increasing violence and long-term uncertainty.
The temporary peace ceased after negotiations between de facto leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo deteriorated. The failure to fully transition to democracy after the previous dictatorship has created a dangerous power vacuum.
The Guardian reports that the temporary ceasefire has succeeded in quelling violence, but many fear that it will not extend past 27 April.
This violence has severely impacted the international trade industry. According to Hellenic Shipping News, Maersk said it is exploring solutions to stabilise its supply chain services in Sudan and has shut its offices in the cities of Khartoum and Port Sudan.
The carrier said, “The current circumstances mean we have stopped taking new bookings until the situation improves.”
Hapag-Lloyd told customers it was stopping bookings from Tuesday, 25 April. Hapag-Lloyd said, “Any bookings placed up to this date will be honoured and shipped to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.”
CMA CGM said it would simply add an “extra risk coverage surcharge” of $500 per twenty-foot container for both dry and refrigerated units from Europe, the Middle East and India from 1 May, reports.
Port Sudan is the country’s major gateway on the Red Sea, and oil exports from neighbouring South Sudan are heavily reliant on the port.
However, the West P&I Club reported last week that roads and bridges around the port were “currently open” and the oil terminal was operating normally.
Analysts have told the North Africa Post that the conflict in Sudan could affect trade in the region given its strategic location on the Red Sea and near the Suez Canal.
Claire Amuhaya, a researcher focusing on development in East Africa, said: “[Sudan] connects important transportation routes for aviation, oil and other [goods]. It needs to be in stable hands to sustain this flow.”
Meanwhile, air connections in and out of Sudan are in disarray and most Gulf carriers have halted Sudan services.
Sudan’s airspace is among the largest aviation territories on the continent. Airlines have now either avoided the violent areas – taking on longer routes – or suspended scheduled flights.
Airline Emirates has declared an extended suspension of flight connections to Khartoum, Sudan’s busiest airport, through 31 May.
Meanwhile, London insurers have added Sudan to their list of high-risk areas after a meeting of the Lloyd’s and International Underwriting Association’s Joint War Committee.
Lloyds List reports that shipowners must notify underwriters of any voyages to Sudan, with additional war-risk premiums added