(FILES) This file picture taken on December 21, 2018, shows a partial view of the port of the Red Sea city of Hodeida. - The United Nations and Yemen's Huthi rebels said the Huthis were to withdraw unilaterally from the three aid ports of Hodeida, Saleef, and Ras Issa starting May 11, 2019, in the first practical implementation of a ceasefire deal struck in Sweden in December. A senior pro-government official accused the rebels of faking the announced pullout without any monitoring by the UN and the government side. (Photo by - / AFP)

Houthi militia attacks on ships raising shipping prices and threatening famine

Economic experts warned of the disastrous continuity of Houthi attacks on ships, which led to a rise in ship insurance prices by 100 percent and may exceed that even more, as well as an unprecedented rise in shipping and maritime transport prices, which threatens a disaster for the countries surrounding the Red Sea, most notably Yemen, where it will be reflected.

This depends on the prices of goods and perhaps their lack.

The situation in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab is becoming dangerous with the continued attacks by the Houthi militia on commercial ships under the pretext of preventing Israeli ships or those linked to the Israeli entity from reaching them in light of the brutal Israeli attacks continuing for the third month in a row against the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian people.

The Minister of Industry and Trade, Muhammad Al-Ashwal told the Yemeni News Agency (Saba), “These attacks are a mobilization of communities affected by the Houthi behavior against Yemen, and the creation of unjustified hostilities while harming the regional economy of the countries bordering the Red Sea, and the rise in insurance prices and the rise in shipping costs.

“He added, “This will lead to an increase in the prices of food commodities, which may cause the import and export operations to stop if the repetition of these attacks increases.

“He said that the economic impact will be frightening in the long and short term, which will affect the lives and livelihoods of Yemenis through the rise in food prices and their disappearance, with the direct impact on the economic aspect represented by the collapse of the service sectors that accompany import and export business.

Al-Ashwal pointed out that the Yemenis are facing a catastrophe of a very different kind, represented by the partial or complete cessation of import and export operations for intermittent periods and the disruption of their systems, which affects small and emerging companies and leads to famine.

He stressed that the military actions by the terrorist Houthi militias in territorial waters will inevitably affect small-scale fishermen and thus the food security of Yemen and the livestock trade with the Horn of Africa and the export of vegetables to it.

The head of the Center for Studies and Economic Media, Mustafa Nasr, believes that the current crisis is heading towards an almost complete closure of trade in the Red Sea, whether through warnings from the US-led coalition to shipping companies or fears raised by the repeated Houthi militia attacks.

He said in a statement to the Yemeni News Agency (Saba), “The crisis in the Red Sea resulting from the Houthi attacks on ships was reflected in the rise in the cost of shipping and insurance on ships heading to Yemeni ports, and the price of the cost of shipping a 40-foot container to the port of Hodeidah rose from five thousand to ten thousand dollars.

Nasr added, “The same applies to the port of Aden, as the cost of shipping has increased by about 100 percent, and it is expected that it may reach 150 percent, and this will be directly reflected in the prices of goods.”

He pointed out that traditional marine fishing operations, on which nearly one and a half million Yemenis depend, have declined and there is extreme caution about entering the sea to fish.