Denmark's Maersk on Tuesday told its clients in a statement that they should prepare for disruptions in the Red Sea to last into the second half of the year and to build longer transit times into their supply chain planning.

Major container shipping companies have switched Suez Canal-bound ships to the longer route around Africa's Cape of Good Hope following attacks on shipping by Houthi militants in the Red Sea.

"Know your best alternative to entering the North American market and be ready to have mitigations in place," Maersk's head of North America, Charles van der Steene, said in a statement.

"Start quantifying and preparing to mitigate shifts in your supply chain costs," he added.

Maersk has added about 6% more vessel capacity to offset delays due to longer transit times around Africa, it said.

(Reporting by Louise Breusch Rasmussen, editing by Stine Jacobsen)