MSC Aries 2
Photo: VesselFinder

Less than 2% of the  containerships active in the Persian Gulf are Israeli-owned, and redeploying these vessels to other routes is unlikely to significantly disrupt trade, according to new analysis from Linerlytica today.

Of more than 500 boxships currently in the Persian Gulf, only 10 are owned by Israel-linked interests.

Coincidentally, MSC operates all 10, including the 15,000 teu MSC Aries, which was boarded and seized by Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops in the Straits of Hormuz on 13 April.

MSC told The Loadstar the ship, which had been sailing from Khalifa Port in the UAE to India’s Jawaharlal Nehru, was now on its way to Iran. The carrier said it was working to secure the release of the vessel and its 25-strong crew.

A representative of UK-based Zodiac Maritime, owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, confirmed to The Loadstar that the MSC Aries was owned by its affiliate, Gortal Shipping, and chartered to MSC.

According to, the ship is on a 10-year time-charter contract due to expire in March 2030.

MSC operates more than 100 ships in the Persian Gulf and is the largest container operator in the region.

Linerlytica expects the escalating Middle East crisis to further boost demand for containerships, with the threat to shipping building in the Persian Gulf while the Suez diversions develop into something approaching a new normal.

The crisis continues to mitigate extreme overcapacity in the industry, allowing it to absorb newbuilding deliveries – last month alone they totalled 309,000 teu, pushing the annualised rate of fleet growth to 9.6%.

Linerlytica said: “The influx of new supply has not dampened the buoyant demand for tonnage, with charter rates still inching upwards.

“The exposure of Israel-linked ships in the Strait of Hormuz is small at the moment, but the turmoil will provide a catalyst for freight rates to rise in the coming weeks,” it added.

Listen to this clip from the latest episode of The Loadstar Podcast to hear how US ocean import volumes have been surprising: 


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