As we all watch with sadness the developing situation in the Middle East, we are mindful of keeping our customers up to date on how the Red Sea shipping crisis may affect the pricing of some of our products.

What is happening in the Red Sea?

In November, Houthi militants launched attacks on commercial ships travelling along the Bab al-Mandab strait - an important 20-mile wide section of the Red Sea, and a chokepoint for commercial ships entering and exiting.  These disruptions are affecting global container traffic and causing wide-scale delays.

How does the Red Sea affect supply chains from Asia?

The Suez Canal handles about 30% of global container trade and is accessed by vessels travelling from Asia.  Re-routing shipments around the Cape of Good Hope adds about 6000km to journeys connecting Europe with Asia, adding about 10 days to the duration of each trip.  

The Red Sea shipping crisis is severely disrupting supply chains, this is further affected by blockages in the Panama Canal with the region experiencing its worst drought since the 1950s.

How are Shipping Costs Affected? 

Depending on the deepening situation, shipping times and prices are subject to change and traffic in the Red Sea may remain low for the rest of the year.

Prices along routes that normally go through the Suez Canal have surged, in some cases as much as five-fold.  Asia-Europe shipping lanes are seeing the largest impact but other routes could also be affected by reduced capacity.

Retailers that rely on sea freight are therefore expected to be affected by rising prices.

Keeping Natural Stone Prices Stable

As a consequence of these delays, shipping costs of products arriving from Asia are being driven up in a scene similar to those we witnessed during the COVID crisis.  For Westminster Stone, this may have an impact on the prices and delivery times of some of the Natural Stone products we import.

We've Got Your Back on Natural Stone Prices:

While shipping delays are causing price increases worldwide, we understand the importance of keeping your dream garden project on budget. At Westminster Stone, we're committed to keeping price increases stable and taking care of you:

  • Working Behind the Scenes: We have strong relationships with our suppliers, and we're working tirelessly together to find the best deals for you. We're in your corner, negotiating and searching for ways to minimize any price impact.
  • Quality You Can Trust, Value You Deserve: We're on the constant hunt for top-quality natural stone at the best possible prices.
  • Keeping You Informed, Keeping You on Track: We're closely monitoring our UK stock levels to prevent any unexpected delays. We'll keep you informed every step of the way, so you can focus on bringing your dream garden to life.

Embracing British Made

Fortunately, Westminster Stone has lots of alternative products we can offer you.  Our British-made Stonecast paving and Stonecast Flooring are completely unaffected by shipping and are available for Nationwide delivery within a week. 

Hand-crafted at our Head Office site in Shropshire for nearly 40 years, Stonecast is meticulously created to imbue British heritage into homes and gardens.  Our flagstones and tiles are unique and each is infused with a different patina, shape and size to produce paving and flooring which is virtually indistinguishable from original natural stone.

Highly durable, frost- resistant and naturally non-slip, Stonecast is made to withstand the British climate and is a practical choice for patios, paths, driveways and low-maintenance interior flooring. 

Please rest assured that we are working hard to minimise disruptions.  Your satisfaction is our priority and our expert sales team is here to help you find the perfect product.