More than half of UK retailers and exporters have experienced the impact of shipping disruptions along the Red Sea trade route in late 2023 and early 2024, a British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) survey has revealed.  

Since November 2023, Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels have been attacking merchant vessels. 

In the survey, which included responses from more than 1,000 companies, 37% of them acknowledged the impact. 

Increased costs and delays affected 53% of manufacturers and business-to-consumer entities, encompassing retailers and wholesalers, and 55% of UK exporters.  

BCC trade policy head William Bain said: “This research gives us immediate insight into the impact of Red Sea disruption on UK businesses. 

“There has been spare capacity in the shipping freight industry to respond to the difficulties, which has bought us some time. And recent Office for National Statistics data also indicates the impact has yet to filter through to the UK economy, with inflation holding steady in January.” 

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Some companies in the survey said that the price of shipping a container had risen by as much as 300%, while logistical delays increased delivery times by as much as three to four weeks. 

These issues led to cashflow difficulties and shortages of components on production lines. 

“Our research suggests that the longer the current situation persists, the more likely it is that the cost pressures will start to build,” Bain continued.

“Certain sectors of the economy are obviously more exposed to this than others. But with the recent introduction of the government’s new customs checks and procedures for imports also adding to costs and delays, it is a difficult time for firms.”