How Red Sea attacks could rewire Middle East trade and economic cooperation


Al-Monitor Pro Members


Samuel Wendel

Senior Market Research Analyst, Al-Monitor


Mar. 3, 2024

Bottom Line:

Dubai’s airports have been overwhelmed by surging air freight volumes in early 2024: news surfaced Feb. 12 that local airport cargo terminal operator dnata had suspended import shipments at its Dubai facilities for 48 hours as it wrangled with backlogs. That comes as Houthi attacks continue disrupting Red Sea trade, pushing more shippers to consider alternative options — like flying cargo through Gulf hubs. This only underlines the Middle East’s centrality to global commerce at a moment when the Gaza war is increasingly exposing the region’s geographic trade chokepoints and economic fragmentation. Crucially, decision makers may be motivated to tackle these vulnerabilities: on Feb. 13, the UAE and India inked an agreement on the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), signaling that this ambitious overland trade route bypassing the Red Sea remains alive

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