Suez Canal Disruptions: Impact on Global Retail and Supply Chains


  • European retailers are delaying specific campaigns until stocks are secured.
  • Major container ship operators like Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd are rerouting vessels away from the Suez Canal due to militant attacks, costing an additional $1 million in fuel and 10 additional journey days.
  • BDI Furniture is increasing reliance on factories in Turkey and Vietnam and asking freight brokers to bypass the Panama and Suez canals.
  • Polish fashion retailer LPP is considering rail or sea-air alternatives for its urgent collections.
  • Europe’s Aldi Nord postpones advertising of specific products due to delayed deliveries.

The Suez Canal Situation

One European merchant shared that it is delaying promotional efforts for particular goods until stocks are guaranteed. Major carrier companies like Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd have amended their routes to avoid the Suez Canal, the shortest path from Asia to Europe, following militant attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

Diverting from the original route has sparked concerns of further disturbance to global trade as supply chains are still recovering from the pandemic.

The Resulting Challenges

Interviewed retailers, selling a variety of items from furniture to mechanical parts, and analysts have highlighted the unique measures companies are taking to adapt to the situation. BDI Furniture, a U.S.-based company, is prioritizing orders and relying more on factories in Turkey and Vietnam. They’re also requesting freight brokers to bypass the Panama and Suez canals.

The company’s vice president of operations stated that they have low stocks of various items already on ships and weren’t expecting these extensive delays. High prices have forced companies to be strategic about what products to prioritize when considering transport alternatives like rail and air.

Ideas for Alternatives

Companies, especially ones like Britain’s Next and Polish fashion retailer LLP, are coming up alternative methods. However, continued disruptions could affect the gross profit margins of European retailers. The threat of supply chain issues causing an inflation surge has caused concern.

In response, some firms are considering a permanent shift in their supply chains. BDI Furniture is aiming to reduce its dependence on Chinese factories by sourcing more from Turkey and Vietnam.

Given these unfolding situations, it is likely to impact not just the shipping and logistics sectors, but the forex trading and indices markets as well, due to the potential changes in the global supply chains and the costs involved.

PIP Penguin