top of page

Join us on the app

Red Sea Update: Number Of Crude Tankers Transiting Bab El Mandeb Rebounds To ‘Normal’ Level

Key data for the week ending February 25, 2024

Numbers reflect cargo-carrying vessels of 10,000dwt+. Pre-Houthi attack ‘normal’ average taken for the period November 6 - December 3, 2023.

  • Vessels transiting the Bab el Mandeb strait increased by 2% week on week but in deadweight tonnage terms, it grew by 17%. The number of crude oil tankers leaped 65% week on week, returning to ‘normal’ levels

  • The number of active vessels in the Red Sea was up 12% compared with the previous week, but remains 36% fewer than in the same period last year

  • Suez Canal transits jumped by 24% in vessel terms and 25% in dwt terms in the most recent week

  • Cape of Good Hope passings fell by 1% in vessel terms compared with the previous week but the total number is still up 78% against the normal average

Despite the increasing frequency of Houthi attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea in recent weeks, the number of cargo-carrying vessels over 10,000dwt increased to a daily average of 240 in the week ending February 25, up from 213 vessels in the previous week.

The number is considerably down on the 380-vessel average recorded in the same week of 2023 but may be a sign that trade in the region is reaching a degree of stability that is encouraging the return of some carriers.

Earlier this week, Lloyd’s List reported that CMA CGM sent at least one and most likely two of its vessels through the Bab el Mandeb strait last week, despite public statements that it would no longer use the route.

Total Bab el Mandeb transits increased to at least 261 vessels in the most recent week, up by around 2% from the previous seven days, with the dwt total increasing 17% to 21.9m dwt.

The increases were largely driven by crude oil tankers, with 79 vessels transiting in the week ending February 25, up from 48 the week before and above the ‘normal’ average of 78 in the weeks prior to the Houthi attacks.

However, there were significant drops for boxship traffic, down to 29 from 43 week on week, and bulk carriers – down to 97 from 113.

Weekly Bab el Mandeb transits by crude oil tankers (2023/2024):

Note: Week 45 starts 6 November 2023. Latest figures may be revised upwards as more AIS gap data becomes available. Only cargo-carrying vessels over 10,000 dwt (those most likely to be internationally trading) were considered


bottom of page