SUPPLY-CHAIN SECURITY5 Technologies Keeping Cargo Ships Safe in Turbulent Times

By Abigail Klein Leichman

Published 30 January 2024

Due to Houthi attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea, worldwide shipping is in trouble and the global supply chain faltering. These technologies can help.

Since Israel has been at war with Hamas, cargo ships bound for Western countries through the Red Sea’s Bab al-Mandab Strait have come under pirate and missile attack by Yemenite Houthis

You don’t have to grasp the complicated geopolitics to understand the immense impact: Statista conservatively estimates that 80 percent of the trillions of dollars’ worth of goods shipped around the world every year are transported by ships. 

We all were affected by the supply-chain crisis during the Covid pandemic. But that was mainly a personnel problem. Today’s crisis stems from physical and cyber threats.

Diverting ships from the new danger zone means everything takes longer and costs more to deliver. Shipping prices per container roughly quadrupled from December to January.

“The repercussions are quite extensive,” says Ami Daniel, founder and CEO of Tel Aviv-based maritime intelligence company Windward

“The collective vessel market share of MSC, Hapag Lloyd, and Maersk, all of which have rerouted vessels away from the area, accounts for approximately 60% of global trade. Many of the impacted vessels previously heading to Europe from Asia via the Red Sea are now sailing around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, likely adding 10 to 14 days of travel time.” 

Furniture giant Ikea has already warned of supply shortages, while a Tesla factory in Germany and a Volvo factory in Belgium announced production slowdowns due to “considerably longer transportation times” delaying the delivery of essential parts. This will, of course, raise the cost of the vehicles. 

Shoring up maritime security is more essential than ever, necessitating a large range of solutions.

Worldwide Problem
“It’s a worldwide problem, and we need worldwide collaboration to keep trade routes open,” says Nir Gartzman, cofounder and managing partner of theDOCK maritime innovation hub in Haifa. 

Gartzman will present onstage in Las Vegas in February at Manifest, a conference on supply chain and logistics. Among the Israeli maritime companies expected at Manifest are Windward and theDOCK portfolio startups WaveBL (digitized trade documents), Hoopo (fleet tracking), Conbo AI (port and terminal resource optimization) and DockTech (digital infrastructure for faster, safer seaport operations).

“Israel has already been a significant player in vessel security for decades,” Gartzman tells ISRAEL21c, explaining that former members of elite Israeli military units often work as security guards on cargo and cruise ships in high-risk regions.