Red Sea crisis: Indian shipping costs and times and export credit premiums up

(Financial Express, Noida, 18 January 2024) An Indian inter-ministerial meeting on Red Sea crisis on Wednesday has asked the Department of Financial Services (DFS) in the finance ministry to monitor the credit requirements of exporters and ensure that credit flows to them are maintained, a senior official said Wednesday. Different reports have said the conflict in the Red Sea is leading to increased shipping costs by 40-60%, insurance premiums by 15-20% and delays of up to 20 days due to rerouting of some ships away from Suez Canal. The cost and turnaround time of shipments have increased as two shipping lines including Maersk have stopped services but volume is not affected, the official said.He said so far there has just been time and cost impact, nothing else. In the rapidly escalating situation in the region the shipping rates on some routes have gone up by six times. Exporters fear that the impact could come in a big way if the situation does not normalise. The government may have to look at alternate routes. On its part the ministry of commerce has asked Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) not to increase the premium on credit insurance and other related services.The insurance covers enable the banks to extend timely and adequate export credit facilities to the exporters. [Around 80% of India’s merchandise trade with Europe passes through the Red Sea and substantial trade with the US also takes this route. Both geographies account for 34% of India’s total exports. The Red Sea strait is vital for 30% of global container traffic and 12% of world trade.]