Global Supply Chains Falter as Malaysia Blocks Israeli Cargo Ships

( – It’s only been a week since Malaysia blocked Israel from docking cargo ships at its ports, and the move is already affecting global supply chains.

On Wednesday, Dec. 20, Malaysia announced that all Israeli-flagged cargo ships will be barred from docking at Malaysian ports. The move came in response to the Jewish state’s ongoing military actions in the surrounding Palestinian territories, claiming Israel has ignored “basic humanitarian principles. In a statement announcing the ban, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that ships heading to Israel are also banned from using the Southeast Asian nation’s ports.

In the announcement, Anwar specifically targeted ZIM, Israel’s largest shipping firm.

Israel’s military campaign began in October after the militant Islamic group Hamas attacked the Jewish state, killing around 1,200 and taking hostages back into Gaza. Israel argues the ongoing siege is in self-defense, but critics claim they are committing war crimes as the Palestinian death toll climbs to 20,000. The population of Malaysia is two-thirds Muslim, meaning the majority tend to side with Palestinians.

The move is now causing supply chain issues, which was already a problem due to attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels from Yemen. The rebels have been using drones and short-range rockets to target cargo ships, leading six of the largest cargo firms to ban their vessels from venturing through the Red Sea in order to get to the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean.

Insurance companies have also begun reducing or pulling coverage for vessels traveling these routes, forcing giant cargo ships to divert around Africa’s southern tip through dangerous waters and temperature variations that impact the cargo. The route also takes longer to traverse.

Rumors abound that Indonesia may join Malaysia in the ban, which will have an even more massive impact on trade between Southeast Asia and the Middle East. With the addition of extra steps to transport goods comes extra costs, as well as fewer ports for unloading cargo and refueling vessels. Undoubtedly, these developments will impact the global economy in the coming months.

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