Red Sea Unrest Diverts Cargo From Greece


  • Red Sea issues are rerouting cargo ships, causing a 24% drop in container traffic at Piraeus, Greece’s biggest port.
  • Ports along these new routes, like those in Spain, are seeing a rise in business.

Piraeus, Greece’s primary port, has witnessed a significant decrease in container traffic due to the ongoing geopolitical instability in the Red Sea. This instability has forced container ships traveling from Asia to Europe to take a longer route, bypassing the Red Sea and the crucial port of Piraeus.

Impact on Piraeus

  • Data from Cosco Shipping Ports reveals a sharp decline in container handling at Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT) in May 2024 compared to May 2023. The number of containers handled dropped by 24.1%.
  • This trend continues for the first five months of 2024, with a 13.5% decrease in container handling at PCT compared to the same period in 2023.
  • The decline extends to the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA)-run Pier I, experiencing a 13% drop in container handling during the same five-month period.

Shifting Landscape

  • While Piraeus faces a decline, ports along alternative routes are experiencing a surge in container traffic.
  • Cosco Shipping Ports’ terminals, particularly those in Spain, have seen a significant increase. Their Spanish terminal witnessed a 19.7% rise in container handling in May 2024 compared to May 2023.
  • Overall container traffic across Cosco’s 36 global ports continues to show an upward trend, with a rise of 5.4% in May 2024 compared to May 2023.

The geopolitical situation in the Red Sea is causing a geographical shift in container traffic patterns. While ports like Piraeus grapple with a decline, others positioned along alternative routes are experiencing a significant boost. This highlights the interconnectedness of global shipping and the vulnerability of ports to external disruptions.

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Source: Seatrade Maritime