At approximately 13:00hrs GMT today the Ever Given was successfully re-floated in the Suez Canal, and is presently on route to the Great Bitter Lake accompanied by several large tug vessels.  It is currently unclear if the vessel is in need of repair, engineers report the ship’s engine is fully functional, and both the owners and operators are indicating the ship will quickly be able to proceed to Rotterdam.

Expected impact

With supply chains already strained with the challenges faced by the pandemic, the disruption of the canal blockage is expected to have a ripple effect until the end of June. According to current data there are over 370 vessels currently anchored, waiting to move through the canal, with many more on their way to the region.

Extended transit times, further blank sailings, port congestion and a lack of empty containers, will likely result in an increase in rates through congestion surcharges, PSS and other emergency surcharges carriers may impose.

Alternative solutions

Last week our Customer teams priority was identifying the shipments that are on the vessels queuing and inform Ligentia customers of expected delays. This week our teams are working with Ligentia customers to implement changes to future bookings to move stock quicker and consider different modal options. Our sea-air Dubai to UK service, air services and rail services, are all options currently being considered as our dedicated teams work hard to find solutions.

For more information on available capacity over the coming months click here to send your shipment enquiry.

On Tues 23rd March 2021 one of the world’s largest shipping vessels ‘Ever Given’, run aground causing Egypt’s Suez Canal to be blocked. With authorities currently scrambling to refloat the cargo ship, traffic remains halted in both directions.

Officials have blamed strong winds for pushing the Ever Given sideways, causing an immediate queue of at least 100 vessels seeking to transit between the Red Sea and Mediterranean.

The Suez Canal blockage will have a considerable impact on international trade for months to come. With supply chains already strained with the challenges faced by the pandemic, the disruption caused by further delays, schedule changes and blank sailings is expected to have a ripple effect until the end of June.

Bloomberg has today reported that Egyptian authorities appear to want to wait until Monday for a higher tide to try and tow the vessel away, indicating that the most realistic return to normal for vessel traffic will only happening in a minimum of 10 days.

Is rerouting an immediate option?

According to current data there are almost 240 vessels now queued. Fears that this will take days to resolve has led to many carriers considering rerouting vessels around Africa. Yesterday (25th March) saw Ever Greet, a sistership to the vessel blocking the canal, as the first to head south for the Cape of Good Hope. However, experts currently state that detouring ships doesn’t seem like a viable option at the moment, due to risks of taking unfamiliar routes, limited supply to the crew and an extended shipment time.

Ligentia’s Customer teams are in contact with carriers regularly regarding possible diversion of cargo vessels in transit and will update all customers impacted by this as soon as possible.

Click here to view live images of the vessels delayed due to the blockage.

The UK government has announced its decision to delay the introduction of post-Brexit import checks by six months.

Checks were originally due to be introduced from 1 April and from 1 July. However, following weeks of concern that the introduction of new formalities would result in the collapse of supply chains and product shortages, these delays have been introduced to give hauliers and businesses more time to adapt.

In a statement to the House of Commons, the minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove said:

“Although we recognise many businesses have been investing time and energy to be ready on time, and indeed we in government were confident of being ready on time, we have listened to businesses that have made a strong case that they need more time to prepare.”

He also added that the disruption that has been caused by COVID was a key factor in the government’s decision, highlighting the need to ensure the UK economy is able to recover fully.

Pre-notification requirements for products of animal origin (POAOs), certain animal by-products (ABPs) and high-risk food not of animal origin, as well as export health certificates for POAOs and ABPS, will now be implemented in October instead of April. Control procedures originally scheduled for 1 July and the deferred declaration scheme will not come into force until January 1 2022.

Road Haulage Association (RHA) Chief Executive Richard Burnett welcomes the decision and says the announcement will buy extra time for hauliers who are still dealing with the additional red tape that has beset them since the end of the transition period. He has, however, raised some concerns about whether operators will even be ready by October 1 due to a shortage of skilled customs agents and veterinarians across the EU to complete the relevant documentation.

“Despite these reservations, I am pleased that Mr Gove and his team have acknowledged the many challenges currently being faced by British hauliers and traders and we look forward to working with government to resolve the issues.”